The Modern King Jeroboam II

The story of an ancient king of Israel carries an urgent lesson for Americans and Israelis in 2021.

Here is some ancient history that is astonishingly relevant to America today.

It regards the extraordinary success of the longest-serving monarch in the history of the kingdom of Israel. It was entirely unexpected. For decades prior, the kingdom was trapped in a downward spiral of ignominy and subjugation. In the ninth century b.c., the Assyrian Empire dominated the kingdom of Israel and forced its kings to pay tribute. By the end of the century, the Assyrian overlords had been replaced by Aramean overlords. Israel was crawling from failure to failure.

Around the start of the eighth century b.c., Jeroboam ii arrived. Neither the Bible nor secular history reveal anything unique about his coming to power. The author of Kings records that Jeroboam ii was just as evil as his forefathers (2 Kings 14:24). Jeroboam ii was just like his namesake, Jeroboam i, who had led Israel to break away from the dynasty of David two centuries earlier.

Yet in spite of Jeroboam’s wicked behavior, the kingdom’s borders expanded and it grew spectacularly prosperous. Why? God answers in verse 27: “And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” Under King Jeroboam ii, God mercifully gave a kingdom fated for certain death one final opportunity to return to greatness.

Since January 2017, Philadelphia Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has repeatedly explained the dramatic prophecy in Amos 7, which specifically discusses an end-time Jeroboam and “house of Jeroboam.” Mr. Flurry has shown that United States President Donald Trump is the end-time type of King Jeroboam ii, and that Mr. Trump’s presidency can be compared to the summary of Jeroboam’s reign recorded in 2 Kings 14.

The book of Amos was written during the reign of Jeroboam ii. This entire book describes social, political and geopolitical trends in ancient Israel that are remarkably similar to those in America today. (In Bible prophecy, “Israel” refers to America and Britain, while “Judah” refers to the Jews. For proof, request your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.)

Under Jeroboam, Israel experienced an economic boom. Its enemies retreated. Its borders expanded. A religious revival swept across the land. The same happened in America under Donald Trump. King Jeroboam’s government forged a strong relationship with the Jews, much like the Trump administration formed a strong relationship with the State of Israel.

These parallels are not just interesting history. The reign of King Jeroboam ii is prophetic! And it is a powerful, last-chance warning to the modern descendants of Israel and Judah.

King Jeroboam I

Israel became a united kingdom under its first king, Saul. Its golden age came under Saul’s successor, King David, and David’s son King Solomon. Following Solomon’s death in the late 10th century b.c., the kingdom split into two rival kingdoms. The southern kingdom, Judah, was led by kings from the dynasty of King David for more than 300 years. It retained Jerusalem as its capital and Solomon’s temple as its national center of worship.

The northern kingdom, Israel, was led from the beginning by rebellious, disobedient kings. The first of them, Jeroboam i, rejected David, rejected worship at the temple in Jerusalem, and rejected the Levites as God’s priests and educators. Israel went on to have 19 kings in nine dynasties over 200 years—and not one was righteous. Sin was entrenched nationally. God sent prophets, including Elijah, Elisha and Amos, to warn the nation, but none of the kings of Israel, and very few of its citizens, ever repented wholeheartedly.

Beginning around 900 b.c., Israel suffered a century blighted by famine and war. The Assyrians, then the Arameans, conquered parts of its territory. From the start of his reign around 843 b.c., the Aramean King Hazael repeatedly invaded Israelite territory. He eventually conquered Israel’s land on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Twenty years later, Hazael ventured farther west, gaining territory all the way to the Mediterranean coast (2 Kings 12:17). By 815 b.c., the Syrians had subjugated both the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. 2 Kings 13:3 reveals the ultimate reason Israel and Judah suffered repeated defeat: It was punishment from God.

Consider the state of Israel and Judah prior to Jeroboam’s arrival, and the state of America and the Jewish state prior to Donald Trump. Under Barack Obama, the U.S. pursued a policy of alienating friends and emboldening enemies. In the Middle East, Mr. Obama’s priority was to undermine Israel and promote Iran and radical Islam.

In 2 Kings 13:4, King Jehoahaz (Jeroboam’s grandfather) prayed for help against the Syrians. Ever merciful, God relieved some of Israel’s oppression by causing Assyria to invade Syria. In 796 b.c., the Assyrian army swept into the region, instantly weakening Syria’s power over Israel and Judah. Yet as the Assyrian Tell al-Rimah Stele inscription shows, the conquering Assyrians took tribute not only from Syria’s King Benhadad (son of Hazael) but also “received tribute of Jehoash the Samarian.” Jehoash was the father and predecessor of King Jeroboam ii.

Enter Jeroboam II

Jeroboam ii began to reign around 793 b.c., and Israel’s fortunes turned.

The Bible shows that territorial expansion and economic prosperity generally corresponded to the reign of a righteous king. God often responds to righteousness with material blessings. Jeroboam ii was an exception.

In fact, God prophesied through the Prophet Jonah that He would extend mercy to Israel despite Jeroboam’s wickedness. Through Jeroboam, God would enlarge Israel’s borders and give the nation peace and prosperity that it had not experienced since the time of David and Solomon. This is the key to understanding the reign of Jeroboam ii: The national resurgence was God’s doing, but it was performed through the leadership (“by the hand”) of Jeroboam.

God used this leader to cause a national resurgence, even though neither he nor his people were righteous. Why? Because the nation was so close to its end! The same is true of the U.S. today.

“He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah …” (2 Kings 14:25). (This is the same Jonah whom God later tasked with warning Assyria and whose prophetic book is canonized in the Bible.)

Mr. Trump’s presidency made the world safer for the imperiled nation of Israel. This also happened in biblical times.

Under Jeroboam ii’s reign, Israel recovered huge swaths of territory from both the Syrians and the Assyrians, including Hamath, a town at the northern boundary during Israel’s golden age (1 Kings 8:65). 2 Kings 14:25 records the southern boundary of Jeroboam’s territory as “the sea of the plain,” which most scholars take to mean the eastern portion of the Dead Sea, perhaps even to the point of Edom at the sea’s southern point. This would mean Jeroboam acquired full control of the territories of Moab, Ammon and Syria (see also verse 28 and Amos 6:14).

Both the Bible and secular sources indicate that Jeroboam’s power over the Aramean kingdom, including its capital, Damascus, was total. After a campaign by Assyrian King Shalmaneser iv against Damascus in 773 b.c., the Assyrians no longer journeyed into the region until after Jeroboam’s death. Jeroboam made the most of Assyria’s absence by recovering Damascus for the kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 14:28). Secular history records no known ruler of Damascus from 775 b.c. to 750 b.c., the very years Jeroboam reigned. (This time frame shows that King Jeroboam’s foreign victories mainly occurred during the second half of his reign.)

Compare this to recent history in America. Under Barack Obama’s administration, the nation’s foreign policy was driven by hatred for America and defined by compromise and appeasement toward China, Iran, Europe, North Korea, Russia and other current and potential enemies. Then the nation suddenly pivoted to a policy of strength toward those same enemies. Why? Because of one man. Donald Trump might not be popular with world leaders, but he is feared and respected. And while his detractors will never admit it, his leadership made the world safer for America.

Alliance With Judah

Mr. Trump’s presidency also made the world safer for the imperiled nation of Israel. This also happened in biblical times.

Think about the influence exerted by America and Israel in the Middle East during Mr. Trump’s presidency. Israel formed milestone peace treaties, brokered by America, with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. Most importantly, the United States and Israel stymied Iran’s attempt to dominate the region. The administration of Benjamin Netanyahu can take some of the credit, but most of it belongs to Donald Trump, the end-time type of Jeroboam ii.

During Jeroboam ii’s reign over Israel, the southern kingdom of Judah thrived. Judah was led by King Uzziah, who also presided over a stunning resurgence in the eighth century b.c. (see 2 Chronicles 26). The Bible gives few details about the relationship between the two brother kingdoms, but it is clear they were allies.

President Trump visits Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem in 2017.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Israel’s resurgence under King Jeroboam benefited Uzziah and Judah in much the same way that America’s resurgence under Donald Trump for four years benefited the Jewish state. “Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” (2 Kings 14:28).

It is notable that a passage focusing on Israel’s resurgence mentions the separate kingdom of Judah. Some believe this indicates that the two kingdoms allied and fought side by side to defeat Syria and recover territory. Citing this verse, Tel Aviv University’s Nadav Na’aman wrote, “Although details of the relations are missing, we may speculate that … Judah must have sent troops to the Israelite campaigns against Aram Damascus and enjoyed the successful results of these campaigns” (Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, Vol. 46, Issue 1, 2019).

According to Na’aman, King Jeroboam ii was undoubtedly the alpha in this eighth-century Israel-Judah relationship; yet “Judah must have enjoyed the status of an ally rather than that of a vassal state.”

This is an exact parallel of the relationship between the United States and the State of Israel over the four-year administration of President Trump. After suffering a terrible crisis devised by the Obama administration, the relationship surged to a historic high under the leadership of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. Just as they did anciently, the modern descendants of Israel and Judah dominated the region.

Bitter Affliction

Studying this history, especially in the context of current events, we must remember that the sensational resurgence of the Israelites and Jews was not the result of blessings from God for obedience, even though that is exactly what many of them believed it was.

It is crucial to understand why God was intervening.

“For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel” (2 Kings 14:26). Israel was so afflicted that it was about to collapse! The nation’s final opportunity to repent would be gone. God intervened not because the leaders or the people were righteous, but because they were so sinful that their nation was about to die!

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states, “The expression means that there was no one, great or small, young or old, to whom they could look for aid” (emphasis added). Israel’s leaders were failing. The nation’s institutions were failing. The kingdom’s political, cultural and educational systems were failing. Its false religion was failing. Though many were oblivious to it, the nation was militarily, economically, culturally and spiritually helpless.

The writings of the Prophet Amos reveal that society was dominated by a ruling class that had greedily accumulated wealth and destroyed the patriarchal system. The poor and vulnerable suffered.

God used Jeroboam to momentarily stabilize the fragile nation. The point was not to grant it relief from oppression or give it more territory or more wealth, but to give the people the opportunity to address the root cause of their society’s sickness: sin! This is why God dispatched Amos to Samaria: to deliver His warning message and beseech Jeroboam ii and his people to repent!

Amos 1:1 shows that the prophet likely delivered his warning toward the end of Jeroboam’s reign. This is supported by archaeological evidence that corroborates the ominous event described in this verse only as “the earthquake.”

Rich-Poor Divide

In Amos 5:11-12, the prophet writes: “Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.” While Israel’s leaders and other elites grew increasingly powerful and wealthy, they also grew calloused toward the needs of the people. Israel’s elites saw the common people as ignorant and insignificant, as “deplorables.”

This split between rich and poor has been uncovered in archaeological excavations at the Tel-el Farah—likely ancient Tirzah, one of Israel’s chief cities. “A wealthy class lived in Tirzah,” writes Todd Bolen in The Reign of Jeroboam II: A Historical and Archaeological Interpretation, “but of greater surprise is the tremendous disparity between these and the common people who lived in ramshackle huts next door to the affluent mansions.”

At Samaria, Israel’s capital city, a massive collection of over 500 ivories was discovered in excavations from the 1920s and 1930s. Archaeologist Nahman Avigad and others believe these were made during the reign of Jeroboam ii. These luxurious inlays were used in architecture and furniture and testify to Israel’s affluence under King Jeroboam.

This is tangible evidence of what the Prophet Amos wrote in Amos 6:1, 4-6: “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria …. That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.”

Compare Amos’s description of America’s ancestors to the state of America today. Under President Trump, the economy boomed: Employment increased, home prices rocketed, and stock prices hit record highs. Even the poorest in America became wealthy, especially compared to historical norms. But as America’s prosperity increased, so did the chasm between the middle class and the exceptionally rich. The elites benefited far more than regular Americans.

This extreme inequality worsened internal divisions that radicals were already actively exacerbating. More and more, America’s elites looked down on the “deplorables” and grew comfortable dictating how they should live. Americans reacted in 2016 by electing Donald Trump. The people wanted a leader willing to stand up for traditional American values, which are rooted in biblical principles. As historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2019, “The middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies and propagandistic journalists.”

Instead of identifying sin as sin, being grieved by it and repenting (changing attitudes and actions), the leaders of the nation actively led the people in breaking God’s laws! As in ancient Israel, these modern elites are forcing extreme values and practices on the nation.

Destroying the Family

Amos also shows that ancient Israel’s ruling elites were responsible for destroying the nation’s foundational institution: the traditional family. Under the leadership of the husband and father, the family was the fundamental structure not only for daily life but also for protecting the needy and vulnerable in society. While Jeroboam ii exhibited strength toward Israel’s external enemies, he was weak on social issues. Amos indicates the kingdom was dominated by radical feminists.

“Hear this word, ye kine [cows] of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink” (Amos 4:1). Bible commentaries state that this is directed at the powerful women in Israel. “The use of the modifier ‘of Bashan’ then, may be understood as a superlative that identifies these women as occupying the top tier of society,” wrote Brian Irwin of Knox College, University of Toronto, in 2012.

These powerful women of Israel held power in the mountain of Samaria, Israel’s capital city. They issued hateful decrees against the patriarchy and called for it to be removed. “The women of Samaria were attempting to overturn the prevailing social structure that in ancient Israel was the primary means by which the vulnerable were protected,” continued Irwin. Through the Prophet Amos, God was identifying a powerful feminist movement that despised the rule of fathers and husbands in society—a tradition-sustaining and civilization-sustaining role ordained by God!

The corollary to America today is inescapable. Americans from the bottom of society to the top are embracing increasingly radical feminist and violent views toward the traditional biblical roles of men and women—and even the existence of male and female!

Still Religious

Ancient Israel was glutted on luxury and debauchery. Yet it was still religious! In fact, Jeroboam’s generation was more religious than its predecessor! The king and his followers believed they were pious and righteous. Under Jeroboam ii, who, like his namesake, exploited organized religion as a means to control the people, Israel underwent a massive revival of state-run religion. So powerful was the religious structure under Jeroboam that the representative of the king who banished Amos from the country was actually a priest of Bethel (Amos 7:10-12).

Evidence of Israel’s eighth-century b.c. religious revival is profoundly evident at Tel Dan, one of the two worship locations originally set up by Jeroboam i. Avraham Biran, director of the Tel Dan excavations, said he believes this “religious” city reached its “zenith” during the reign of Jeroboam ii. The remains of large public buildings dating to Jeroboam ii’s reign have been found across the city, including finely carved steps leading up to a massive altar.

However, what is compelling from both Amos’s account of the religion of the day and the remains at Tel Dan is that the people were apparently attempting to worship God rather than Baal or other Canaanite deities. Discoveries from around the temple area in Tel Dan during the time of Jeroboam ii reveal architecture and artifacts similar to those associated with Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. Inside one room associated with the Tel Dan temple, excavators uncovered a bronze bowl, a pair of identical shovels, a long-handled shovel that held incense, an ash pot and a long fork, all of which match the tools God had instructed the Israelites to use in the true religion at the tabernacle (Exodus 27:1-3) and later the temple.

When Jeroboam II died, Israel’s resurgence ended. The kingdom of Israel fell precipitously into suffering and destruction.
Mary Harrsch via wikimedia commons

Though they believed they were worshiping the true God, these Israelites were worshiping in vain. Their words were hollow, their prayers meaningless and powerless. God sent Amos to condemn their fake religion! Amos 4:5 states: “‘Present your bread made with yeast as an offering of thanksgiving. Then give your extra voluntary offerings so you can brag about it everywhere! This is the kind of thing you Israelites love to do,’ says the Sovereign Lord” (New Living Translation). Rather than pleasing God, the religion of Jeroboam angered Him!

Amos 5:18-20 reveal the extent of Israel’s religious deception. The people yearned for the Day of the Lord, a time of terrible destruction. They believed the destruction would not affect them, since they were righteous. They made the grave mistake of assuming that Israel’s prosperity and power resulted from their righteousness!

During America’s recent religious resurgence, more than 80 percent of evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump in 2016. During the 2018 U.S. midterm election, 75 percent of evangelical voters cast their ballots for the Republican Party. They have been Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters. But just as in ancient Israel, instead of using the temporary resurgence for what it is—one last opportunity to repent and change—the nation went deeper into rebellion and sin!

God’s warning through Amos was powerful. “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts” (verses 21-22).

God’s Mercy

The prophet’s warning message to King Jeroboam ii and his followers became a major source of tension. Amaziah, one of Jeroboam’s false priests, accused Amos of treason and banished him to Judah (Amos 7:10-13).

When Jeroboam ii died around 753 b.c., Israel’s resurgence ended. The kingdom of Israel fell precipitously into suffering and destruction. The next two kings each lasted less than a year. By 745 b.c., Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser iii began invading Israel’s borders. He demanded Israel’s King Menachem pay a massive tribute.

The kingdom of Israel had passed the point of no return. God no longer sent prophets to warn the nation. Within three decades, the Assyrians overran the land, the nation was annihilated, and Israelites were massacred and enslaved!

Israel rapidly went from stunning success under Jeroboam ii to collapse and subjugation! Why? Because neither Jeroboam nor his people heeded God’s warning through Amos! They didn’t take advantage of God’s mercy and repent. This is the powerful, urgent lesson for all of us!

Israel was facing its end. Only by an act of God did it survive for a few more precious years. Were it not for God’s mercy and compassion, the nation would almost certainly have collapsed a century earlier.

This history is a lesson in God’s phenomenal love and His desire to save His people!

Remember, Amos 7 and much of the rest of the book is not just history, it is prophecy! It carries a powerful warning for America, the Jewish state and anyone willing to listen. God warns in Amos 7:8 that He is measuring Israel one final time during the reign of an end-time Jeroboam.

Just after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017, Mr. Flurry wrote, “This is sobering to think about. Here is a severe end-time prophecy, and God is talking about an individual. God names names! We must understand these names and the roles these men play if we are to understand these end-time prophecies! It is essential that we know who these individuals are …. God will not bring this warning to His people again; the Jeroboam time is going to be the last time!”

God is resurrecting the history of Jeroboam for us right now. God, in His mercy, is saving Israel one final time. As was the case under Jeroboam ii, the resurgence of the United States under Donald Trump is only temporary. The rapid radicalization of the nation under the Biden administration proves this all the more. When President Trump regains power, God’s purpose in bringing that about is not merely to stabilize the nation or our bank accounts. Its purpose is to provide time—and precious little of it—to repent. And it’s not just the radicals whom God is calling to repentance—it is the religious as well!

God has revealed prophecies and named names. He wants each of us to acknowledge our own sins and to turn from them. God will temporarily save our nation in spite of ourselves, not because of our greatness but because of His righteousness. It’s time for each of us to acknowledge our own sins and to turn from them. If you are one of the precious few who turns to a humble, prayerful attitude, God will show you what to do—before it is too late.

Learn more about these prophecies in Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Great Again.