Introduction to the Books of the Bible
BOOK : 2 Kings
Description : historical book recounting the handover of the prophetic ministry from Elijah to Elisha, the kings of Israel through to the destruction of Samaria, and the kings of Judah through to the Exile.
Date written : some suggest about 560 or 550BC
Chapters : 25
Here again is the suggested structure of 2 Kings we saw in the previous book:
In the extensive verses that will follow, we include each king to confirm what we have said about them before the Lord. Note how they are described.
Glimpses of Elisha's ministry
The Ahab connection
3:1-3 Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah , and he reigned twelve years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
Jehu called to remove that link
9:6-8 Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu's head and declared, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `I anoint you king over the LORD's people Israel . You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD's servants shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab will perish.
Joash of Judah
11:1-3,21 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled the land….. Joash was seven years old when he began to reign
Jehoahaz of Israel
Jehoash of Israel
13:9-13 Jehoahaz rested with his fathers and was buried in Samaria . And Jehoash his son succeeded him as king. In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah , Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria , and he reigned sixteen years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them…… Jehoash rested with his fathers, and Jeroboam succeeded him on the throne. (see 14:23,24 below)
Amaziah of Judah
14:1-4 In the second year of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel , Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years…… He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father David had done. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
Jeroboam II of Israel
14:23,24 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.
Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah
Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem of Israel
15:8-14,17,18 In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in Samaria , and he reigned six months. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his fathers had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah. He attacked him in front of the people, assassinated him and succeeded him as king….. So the word of the LORD spoken to Jehu was fulfilled: "Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation." Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah , and he reigned in Samaria one month. Then Menahem son of Gadi went from Tirzah up to Samaria . He attacked Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria , assassinated him and succeeded him as king…… In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah , Menahem son of Gadi became king of Israel , and he reigned in Samaria ten years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. During his entire reign he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.
Pekahiah Pekah and Hoshea of Israel
15:22-25,27,28,30 Menahem rested with his fathers. And Pekahiah his son succeeded him as king. In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah , Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel in Samaria , and he reigned two years. Pekahiah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. One of his chief officers, Pekah son of Remaliah, conspired against him. Taking fifty men of Gilead with him, he assassinated Pekahiah, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the royal palace at Samaria . So Pekah killed Pekahiah and succeeded him as king. In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah , Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria , and he reigned twenty years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit….. Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinated him, and then succeeded him as king in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah.
Jotham of Judah
15:32-35,38 In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years…. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there….. Jotham rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David , the city of his father. And Ahaz his son succeeded him as king
Ahaz of Judah
16:1-4,20 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree….. Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David . And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king, (See 18:1- below)
The End of Samaria
17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria . He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.
The Reasons for Israel 's removal
17:7-23 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God that were not right.
From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the LORD had driven out before them had done.
They did wicked things that provoked the LORD to anger.
They worshiped idols, though the LORD had said, "You shall not do this."
The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets." But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God.
They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them.
They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.
They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do.
They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole.
They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
Hezekiah of Judah an excellent king
18:1-8 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
Manasseh of Judah and exceptionally bad king
19:21 Hezekiah rested with his fathers. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king
Amon of Judah, a bad king
21:19-24 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother's name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done. He walked in all the ways of his father; he worshiped the idols his father had worshiped, and bowed down to them. He forsook the LORD, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD.
Josiah of Judah a good king
22:1,2 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother's name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
Jehoahaz of Judah, a bad king, disciplined by Egypt
23:32 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months….. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his fathers had done.
The final four kings of Judah
24:1,6,8,9,15,17,20 During Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim rested with his fathers. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king….. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. ….He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father had done….. Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon …. He made Mattaniah , Jehoiachin's uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah ….. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon
Final Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the people exiled
25:1-10,21 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king's garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho . All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon .
The kings of Israel were so bad that eventually the Lord had all of the northern kingdom deported.
The kings of Judah vary from very good to very bad, but even the good (e.g. Hezekiah and Josiah) got it wrong at times.
2 Kings continues to reveal the folly and sinfulness of mankind.
What is incredible about these years is that the Lord was clearly there and spoke literally dozens of times through His prophets calling the people back to Himself. They could never say they didn't know or hadn't been told!
By the end of the book we have two exiles and to all intents and purposes it is the end of Israel (north and south) and they clearly deserved it. Yet, when we read on in the Bible we find that the Lord had spoken again and again about the impending exile and had declared that He would bring a faithful remnant back to restore Jerusalem and the Temple – which is exactly what happened.
However, for the moment, the reading of Kings leaves us shamefaced that we are part of the human race that is exactly the same as the people we read of here, a race that turns its back on God and goes its own foolish and destructive way. How tragic!
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