The evaluation at times took a decidedly negative tone. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was the first to have his reign characterized in a more negative way due to the first that Judah “step up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree” (1 Kings 14:23). This was clearly a case of hyperbole; nevertheless a land that appeared full of what God had forbidden characterized Rehoboam’s rule as less than it needed to be.
Hoshea of Israel faced a similar indictment, as did Jeroboam II (2 Kings 17:10; Hosea 10:1-2). Because the people of God did not destroy the sacred stones but instead erected more, the Lord himself assumed the role of destroyer of sacred stones (Hosea 10:2; Mic 5:13).
On the other hand, the biblical authors certified the faithfulness of other rulers, in part by the fact that they removed the sacred stones from the land. Kings like Joram, Jehu, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Asa were all commended for removing pagan worship facilities and destroying sacred stones (2 Kings 3:1-2; 10:25-27; 18:1, 3-4; 23:14; 2 Chron 14:2-3).