The extraordinary success of Israel’s longest-serving monarch was entirely unexpected. For decades prior to his rule, the kingdom of Israel was trapped in a downward spiral of ignominy and subjugation. In the ninth century b.c.e., the Assyrian Empire dominated Israel and even forced King Ahab and King Jehu to pay tribute. By the end of the century, the Assyrian overlords were gone—and replaced by Aramean tyrants. Israel was crawling from weakness to weakness.
In 793 b.c.e., 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, that “he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin” (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 prior.
Yet in spite of Jeroboam’s wicked behavior, the kingdom’s borders expanded and it grew spectacularly prosperous. Why? God answers in verse 2: “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.
This history is far more relevant to us today than you probably realize.
Since January 2017, Watch Jerusalem 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 this end-time type of King Jeroboam ii, and that Mr. Trump’s presidency can be compared to that of Jeroboam’s recorded in 2 Kings 14.
Amos 7 “really makes Bible prophecy come alive to you,” Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet Great Again (free upon request). “God is revealing the identity of significant individuals in Bible prophecy in this end time especially—I believe like He’s never done before. He wants us to understand this because it is leading directly into the Great Tribulation and then the coming of the Messiah!”
Written during the reign of Jeroboam ii, the entire book of Amos describes social, political and geopolitical trends in ancient Israel that are remarkably similar to those in America today! (In Bible prophecy, the term “Israel” refers to America and Britain, while the term “Judah” refers to the Jews. This crucial truth is explained thoroughly in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong, also free upon request).
Under Jeroboam, Israel experienced a massive economic boom, its enemies retreated, and its borders expanded. The people of Israel experienced a massive religious revival across the land. The same happened to America under Donald Trump! And these aren’t the only parallels: Much like the Trump administration, King Jeroboam’s government forged a strong relationship with King Uzziah and the Jews.
These parallels are not just interesting history. The reign of King Jeroboam is prophetic! And it is a powerful, last-chance warning to the modern descendants of Israel and Judah!
King Jeroboam I
Israel was a united kingdom under its first king, Saul, and during its golden age under King David and King Solomon. Following Solomon’s death in the late 10th century b.c.e., 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 and without exception by rebellious, disobedient kings. The first king of Israel, Jeroboam i, rejected David, Jerusalem and the Levites, the tribe God had established as His priests and educators. Over its 200-year existence, Israel had 19 kings under nine dynasties, and not one was righteous. Under all of them, sin was an entrenched way of life. The Bible records that God sent prophets, including Elijah, Elisha and Amos, to warn the nation. But none of Israel’s kings, and very few of its citizens, ever repented wholeheartedly.
Beginning around 900 b.c.e., Israel suffered a century marked by famine and war. The Assyrians, then the Arameans, conquered parts of its territory. From the start of his reign around 843 b.c.e., the Aramean King Hazael repeatedly invaded Israelite territory and eventually conquered Israel’s land on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Twenty years later, Hazael ventured farther west, even gaining territory along the Mediterranean coast (2 Kings 12:18). By 815 b.c.e., the Syrians had effectively subjugated the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. 2 Kings 13:3 reveals the ultimate reason Israel and Judah suffered repeated defeat: “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Aram, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, continually.”
Consider the parallels between Israel and Judah prior to Jeroboam’s arrival and America and the Jewish state before Donald Trump. Under Barack Obama, the U.S. pursued a policy of alienating friends and emboldening enemies. This predicament was especially dire in the Middle East, where Mr. Obama’s primary strategy was to undermine Israel and promote Iran and radical Islam.
In 2 Kings 13:4, King Jehoahaz (Jeroboam’s grandfather) cried out to God for help against the Syrians. Ever merciful, God caused Assyria to invade Syria, relieving some of Syria’s oppression of Israel. In 796 b.c.e., 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 began to reign in or around 793 b.c.e., and Israel began to get stronger.
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 to this rule.
In fact, through the Prophet Jonah, God prophesied that even though Jeroboam ii was wicked, He would extend mercy to Israel. Through Jeroboam, God would enlarge Israel’s borders and give the nation peace and prosperity not experienced since the time of King David and King 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, because the nation was so close to the end! The same is true of the United States of America today.
“He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher” (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.)
Under Jeroboam’s reign, Israel recovered huge swathes of territory from both the Syrians and the Assyrians, including Hamath, which 1 Kings 8:65 records as the name of a town at the northern boundary during the kingdom of Israel’s golden age.
2 Kings 14:25 records the southern boundary of Jeroboam’s territory as “the sea of the Arabah.” Most scholars take this 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 that King 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.e., the Assyrians no longer journeyed into the region until after Jeroboam’s death. The Bible reveals that 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 775–750 b.c.e., the very years that Jeroboam reigned. (This timeline 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 suffered from a foreign policy motivated 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 and even maximum pressure toward those same enemies. Why? Because of one man: Donald Trump. He 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.
Mr. Trump’s presidency also made the world safer for the imperiled nation of Israel. This also happened anciently.
Alliance With Judah
During Jeroboam’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.e. (see 2 Chronicles 26). The Bible gives few details about the nature of the relationship between the two brother kingdoms, but it is clear that they were allied.
Israel’s resurgence under King Jeroboam benefited King Uzziah and Judah in much the same way that America’s resurgence these past four years has 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, for Judah in 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 the kingdom of 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” (“Samaria and Judah in an Early 8th-Century Assyrian Wine List,” Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, Vol. 46, Issue 1, 2019).
“It seems most likely that good relations between Israel and Judah were restored during the reigns of Jeroboam ii and Uzziah,” Youhanan Aharoni wrote in The Land of the Bible. “The two sister kingdoms were the strongest powers in Palestine and Syria during that period, and together they ruled an area about as great as the kingdom of David.”
Think about the influence exerted by America and Israel in the Middle East during Mr. Trump’s presidency. In just the last few months, Israel formed milestone peace treaties, brokered by America, with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. In most cases, the deals negotiated by President Trump required America to sacrifice something for the sake of Israel. The Americans removed Sudan from its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, recognized Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara and awarded the United Arab Emirates a massive weapons deal. And, most importantly, Iran’s attempt to dominate the region was stymied.
The administration of Benjamin Netanyahu can take some of the credit for this, but most of it belongs to Donald Trump, the end-time type of Jeroboam ii!
Archaeological evidence of this alliance emerged during the recent study of ancient wine lists uncovered between 1957 and 1963 in excavations in the Assyrian capital of Nimrud. Inscribed on these clay tablets is a list of wine allotments and who they were to be distributed to. Of the 60 tablets discovered, several list names of individuals visiting Assyria from “the land of Samaria,” the kingdom of Israel. According to Na’aman, King Jeroboam’s emissaries frequented the capital as “ambassadors of an independent kingdom, unlike the emissaries of Assyrian vassals who were forced to arrive each year to the royal court and bring with them yearly tribute” (op cit).
One list, dating to the 780s b.c.e., names the representative from Israel alongside the representative from Judah. This probably indicates they made the journey to Assyria’s capital together. “The arrival of Israelite and Judahite envoys to Calah [Nimrud],” explained Na’aman, indicates “that the relationship of the two neighboring kingdoms improved after the death of Joash and the ascendance of Jeroboam to his father’s throne …. [T]he willingness of Jeroboam to cooperate with Uzziah and send envoys of the two kingdoms to Calah indicates the (at least partial) recovery of these kingdoms’ relations.”
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 past four years. 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 descendants of Israel and Judah dominate the region. Anciently, they controlled the crucial trade routes connecting Egypt to Mesopotamia (via the Maris and the King’s Highway), bringing security and wealth as it was during Israel’s golden age under King Solomon (see 1 Kings 5:1-5; 2 Chronicles 9:26; 2 Samuel 8).
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 many of them believed it was.
God was intervening in these kingdoms, and it is crucial to understand why.
“For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter; for there was none shut up nor left at large, neither was there any helper for Israel” (2 Kings 14:26). Israel was so terribly afflicted that it was about to completely collapse! The nation’s final chance to repent would be gone! God intervened not because the leaders of 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.” The leaders of Israel were failing. The very institutions of Israel were failing. The kingdom’s political, cultural and educational systems were falling apart. The religion was false. Even 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 had 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 most likely delivered his warning toward the end of Jeroboam’s reign. This is proved by archaeological evidence that corroborates the ominous event described in this verse only as “the earthquake.”
In Amos 5:11-12, the prophet writes: “Therefore, because ye trample upon the poor, And take from him exactions 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 thereof. For I know how manifold are your transgressions, And how mighty are your sins; Ye that afflict the just, that take a ransom, And that turn aside the needy in the gate.” These verses show that while Israel’s leaders and other elites grew increasingly powerful and increasingly wealthy, they also grew increasingly calloused toward the needs of the people. Israel’s elites saw the people as ignorant and insignificant, you could say, as “deplorables.”
This dichotomy between rich and poor has been uncovered in archaeological excavations at the Tel-el Farah, which was 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 were discovered in excavations from the 1920s and 1930s. Archaeologist Nahman Avigad and others believe these were made during the reign of Jeroboam ii. These numerous 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 to them that are secure 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 thrum on the psaltery, That devise for themselves instruments of music, like David; That drink wine in bowls, And anoint themselves with the chief ointments; But they are not grieved for the hurt 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 in comparison to historical norms. But as America’s prosperity increased, so did the chasm between the middle class and the exceptionally rich. The nation’s wealthy elites benefited far more than regular Americans.
This massive inequality worsened internal divisions that radicals were already actively exacerbating. More and more, America’s powerful elites began to look down upon the “deplorables” and grew comfortable dictating how they should live. This trend was already underway and was largely responsible for Americans electing Donald Trump in 2016. The people wanted a leader willing to stand up for traditional American values, which are rooted in biblical principles. As eminent classical historian and commentator 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! It was true in ancient Israel, and it is true in the modern nations of Israel, where radical politicians, executives, journalists and other leaders are aggressively forcing extreme values and practices on the nation!
The book of Amos also shows that ancient Israel’s ruling elites were responsible for destroying the nation’s foundational institution: the traditional family. The family, under the leadership of the husband and father, was the fundamental structure in ancient Israel, not just for daily life but specifically for the protection of the needy and vulnerable in society. While Jeroboam 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, That oppress the poor, that crush the needy, That say unto their lords: ‘Bring, that we may feast’” (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 radical feminist movement that despised the rule of fathers and husbands in society—not only a tradition but a 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 progressively violent views toward the traditional biblical roles of men and women—and even the existence of male and female!
Ancient Israel was in an orgy of luxury, greed and debauchery. Yet it was still religious! In fact, Jeroboam’s generation was more religious than its predecessor! The king and his followers believed that they were pious and righteous. Under Jeroboam, 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.e. religious revival is profoundly evident at Tel Dan, one of the two original “worship” locations set up by Jeroboam i. Avraham Biran, director 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 all over 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 of the rooms associated with the Tel Dan temple, excavators uncovered a bronze bowl, a pair of identical shovels, a long-handled shovel that held incense, ash pot and 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).
These Israelites clearly believed they were worshiping the true God! But they were worshiping God in vain. Their words were hollow, and their prayers meaningless and powerless. God sent Amos to condemn them for 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 please God, the religion of Jeroboam made God angry!
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 didn’t believe it would 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 remarkable religious resurgence, more than 80 percent of evangelical Christians voted President Trump into office in 2016. During the 2018 U.S. midterm election, 75 percent of evangelical voters cast their ballots for the Republican Party. America’s religious 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 feasts, And I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Yea, though ye offer me burnt-offerings and your meal-offerings, I will not accept them; Neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts” (verses 21-22).
The book of Amos records that the prophet’s warning message to King Jeroboam ii and his followers became a major source of tension. Amos 7 shows that Amaziah, one of Jeroboam’s false priests, eventually accused Amos of treason and banished him to Judah (verses 10-13).
When Jeroboam ii died around 753 b.c.e., Israel’s resurgence ended. Quickly the kingdom of Israel fell into a speedy, precipitous descent into suffering and destruction. The next two kings lasted less than a year on the throne. By 745, Assyrian King Tiglath-Pilesar iii began invading Israel’s borders. He demanded Israel’s King Menachem pay a massive tribute.
With the resurgence over and Jeroboam ii dead, the kingdom of Israel had passed the point of no return. God no longer sent prophets to warn the nation. And within three decades, the Assyrians overran the land, the nation was annihilated, and Israelites were massacred and enslaved!
In just a few years, Israel went from stunning success under Jeroboam ii to total 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 the end of its existence. 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 100 years 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! This history carries a powerful warning to America, to the Jewish state and to 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. As Mr. Flurry wrote in his from the editor piece, “When God says, ‘I will not again pardon them any more,’ He is talking about the time of 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 is saving Israel one final time in His mercy. As was the case under Jeroboam ii, the resurgence of the United States under Donald Trump is only temporary. Its purpose is not merely to stabilize the nation or our bank accounts. Its purpose is to provide time—precious little time—to repent. And it’s not just the radicals whom God is calling to stark, drastic 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 saved 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 in Israel who turns to a humble, prayerful attitude, God will show you what to do—before it is too late.