Therefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria. They defeated him, and carried away a great multitude of them as captives, and brought them to Damascus. Then he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with a great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer over the house, and Elkanah who was second to the king. And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters; and they also took away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. (2 Chronicles 28:5-8)
Pekah The Son Of Remaliah
Every generation has its mighty men of war and Pekah son of Remaliah was no exception. The first record of Pekah is where he is an officer in the army of Pekahiah, king of Israel during the period of the divided kingdom. Like all the kings of the northern tribes, Pekahiah did evil in the sight of the Lord and did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam. The reign of Pekahiah ended abruptly after two years when Pekah assassinated his king and reigned in his place. Pekah was a ruthless warrior who had a lust for power and a taste for blood. His reign would last twenty years and like his predecessors would be filled with all the wickedness of the nations around him. Near the end of his rule (before he himself was assassinated by Hoshea son of Elah) he aligned with the king of Syria and attacked his southern brethren of Judah. The record says that in one day Pekah killed 120,000 valiant men and took captive 200,000 women, sons and daughters. This judgement on Judah was from the rebellion of the Judean king Ahaz who walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and served Baal including the human sacrifice of his own children. Therefore the Lord God delivered him to the hand of the king of Syria and by the hand of Pekah a great slaughter of God’s people was carried out. Bringing the captives to the northern capital of Samaria, Pekah was met by a bold and courageous prophet named Obed who demanded the release of the 200,000 captives. The captives were released and the men of Samaria dressed and fed the people returning them to Jericho to return to their homes. Pekah, king of Israel would die within a few years of this war.
Despots like Pekah were ruthless tyrants who terrorized the world for a short period of time but like all men – died. In his case he is murdered by another in the same fashion he murdered his king. His fierceness was unstoppable by most men but one brave prophet withstood the king and saved 200,000 people. The tragedy of the war between Pekah and Ahaz king of Judah was that Israelite was killing Israelite and using the Syrians to kill his own brethren, Pekah preserved his place as being a wicked ruler. All of the kings of Israel during the divided nation were evil. There was no redeeming value to what they did as they killed their own people, sacrificed their children as burnt offerings and filled with land with sexual immorality, murder, strife, hatred and wickedness. God’s wrath would come upon the northern tribes as the Lord brought the powerful Assyrian Empire to obliterate the ten tribes.
Men like Pekah were children of God who had turned aside to the carnal evils of the nations around them. It is difficult to remember these people were under a covenant with the Lord God as the apple of His eye, His beloved and special people whom He redeemed from Egypt. Yet now in the days of the kings the land has been filled with gross immorality and wickedness that would rival the heathen nations around them. The people of God had gone to seed in their pursuit of the fleshly gratifications and lusts for power. Pekah would have been admired and feared in his day for his prowess and might but he was a weak, feeble and cowardly man who learned in death a greater Lord ruled all men. And that is the way of all those who seek to gain glory and honor in this world who have no regard for the day of accounting before the great I AM. Orators would have proclaimed the name of Pekah as the man who killed 120,000 valiant men in one day but without the divine record of his evil no man would have been the wiser. Fame is fleeting and ruthless men find the soil of the earth their home like those they have slaughtered. The rich and powerful despots of the world and those who are to be feared will all cross the river of death and stand before one Lord, one God and one Ruler.