Scriptures

2 Kings 1

Introduction

The Book of 2 Kings is basically the continued story of 1 Kings, this would make sense as the Jews had both books as one. 2 Kings is a book of history and prophecy concerning the Divided Kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south. These kingdoms have fallen so far away from God at this point in history, it’s difficult to understand why God would still want anything to do with them because of their idolatrous behaviour.

There are many familiar characters within the book, such as Manasseh, Zedekiah, Jezebel and Nebuchadnezzar, and others, but two of God’s prophets, Elijah and Elisha have leading roles. There are a few miracles recorded which God does through His prophets, to instil some kind of hope for a very lost nation.

In the first seventeen chapters we read about how the kings of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms lead their people into more idolatry, which will eventually lead them into exile. These kings disobeyed God in various ways and it was during the reign of Hoshea, that the Assyrians come and take the Northern Kingdom into captivity.

We also read about how Elijah’s ministry as a prophet of God comes to an end, but Elisha whom he’s been in training for a while takes his place. Elisha does twice as many miracles, as Elijah, as God does His will through Him.

In the final eight chapters we read that the Southern Kingdom of Judah were almost as bad as the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and they too were going to be judged by God.

Writer

Although the Jews who first received the writings considered the book to be from the hand of a prophet. Sadly, no one knows who wrote it, although many have suggested that it was written by the prophet Jeremiah.

Date

Many believe the book was written around 560-538 B.C., which is around the same date as 1 Kings or sometime after 586 B.C., when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and when Jehoiachin was raised up out of prison by Awel-Marduk, 2 Kings 25:27-30.

The Divided Kingdom

The death of Solomon ended the greatest period in the history of Israel, the United Kingdom. This was followed by the Divided Kingdom which lasted 388 years. At Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne. His subjects had long chafed under the heavy taxation of Solomon. Led by Jeroboam, a general of Solomon’s, they asked Rehoboam to lighten their load.

Rehoboam foolishly replied, ‘My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke.’ 1 Kings 12:14. The people were so angry with this reply that ten of the twelve tribes revolted against Rehoboam and crowned Jeroboam as their king. Jeroboam’s kingdom became known as the northern kingdom or Israel.

Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained with Rehoboam in the southern kingdom or Judah. (The little tribe of Benjamin was so small it was virtually swallowed up by the tribe of Judah.) 2 Kings and the last part of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles tell the complete story of the Divided Kingdom.

The Northern Kingdom Of Israel

The story of the northern kingdom is not a happy one. During its 253 years of history it had one bad ruler after another, not a single one of its 19 kings actually being ‘good’. Nine dynasties or families of kings reigned during this time. Several kings were murdered and their places were taken by usurpers. Jeroboam was so afraid that the people would go back to Jerusalem in Judah to worship and desire Rehoboam for their king that he set up two golden calves at Dan and Bethel for them to worship.

So angered was God at his action that He sent Ahijah to him predict the downfall of Jeroboam’s house and the doom of Israel. The prophet declared, ‘The Lord shall smite Israel and he shall root up Israel out of this good land and shall scatter them beyond the river.’ 2 Kings 14:15.

After Jeroboam’s death, idolatry became even more rampant than before, and under Ahab, the seventh king, worship of the idol god Baal was introduced. During its first eighty years the northern kingdom was almost continuously at war with Judah. The ascension of Ahab to the throne sank Israel to its lowest depths. Ahab married a foreign woman, Jezebel, daughter of the king of Tyre. She brought along her idols and soon abolished the worship of Jehovah in Israel.

It is doubtful that a more evil, unscrupulous woman is described in the entire Bible and Ahab was so spineless that he yielded to his wife’s evil designs. God sent the prophet Elijah to cry out again this idolatry. Elijah conducted a contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and when they were proved false he had them slain. This intensified the determination of Jezebel to kill Elijah, but she never succeeded in her attempt.

Perhaps the best of all the kings of Israel was Jehu who succeeded Ahab’s son as king. With a ruthless determination he had Jezebel killed and Baal worship abolished. But his zeal ran out and he never did away with the golden calves set up by Jeroboam. Of most of the kings who followed Jehu it is said they ‘departed not from the sins of Jeroboam.’

Israel’s political strength reached its greatest height since Solomon under Jeroboam II, but idolatry again grew worse. God carried out His promise made by Ahijah to punish and scatter Israel. In 722 B.C. the powerful Assyrian king carried the people of Israel into Assyria. They never returned. From this point the story of the Jews is that of the Kingdom of Judah.

The Southern Kingdom Of Judah

Judah was smaller and weaker than Israel. Yet, through its 388 years of history it remained much closer to God. Several kings were very good and on the whole the bad were not as evil as those of Israel. All were of the family of David. Judah began to decline under Rehoboam, but during the reigns of good kings Asa and Jehoshaphat a great revival swept the land. In the following years Judah borrowed the religion of Baal from Israel. It remained for King Hezekiah to completely root out idolatry. He and his great-grandson Josiah were the two best kings to rule Judah.

But Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was as evil as Hezekiah was good. In his fifty-five year reign he introduced every form of idol worship he could think of and even burned his own children with fire as a religious rite.

This caused God to promise through the prophets that Judah would be sorely punished for its idolatry. After Josiah became king he set out to bring the people back to God. When the lost book of the law was found in the temple, Josiah instituted such a religious revival as his people had never seen.

Following Josiah’s death, Judah descended rapidly. All the remaining kings were bad and weak. Judah was soon made a ‘satellite’ of Babylon, and when the kings dared to rebel, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 606 B.C. carried most of the people into captivity as the Assyrians had done with Israel over 100 years before. Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, governed a few that remained, but in 587 B.C. he too and most of the rest were also carried into Babylon. This punishment of God taught the Jews a lesson. Never again did they return to idolatry.

Outline

Transition From Elijah To Elisha. 2 Kings 1-2
Moab’s Ruin. 2 Kings 3
Various Miracles. 2 Kings 4
Naaman’s Leprosy. 2 Kings 5
The Syrian Siege. 2 Kings 6-7
Elisha’s Legacy. 2 Kings 8
End Of The Kingdom. 2 Kings 9
End of Offspring. 2 Kings 10
End of Athaliah. 2 Kings 11
Joash. 2 Kings 12
Various Kings. 2 Kings 13-16
Israel Destroyed. 2 Kings 17
Hezekiah. 2 Kings 13-20
Manasseh. 2 Kings 21
Josiah. 2 Kings 22-23
Judah Destroyed. 2 Kings 24-25

The LORD’s Judgment On Ahaziah

‘After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, ‘Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.’ But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’ So Elijah went.’ 2 Kings 1:1-4

After the death of Ahab, 1 Kings 22:29-36 / 2 Chronicles 18:28-34, Moab rebelled against Israel. The Moabites were descendants of Lot, Genesis 19:37, and there was time when King David overpowered them and wiped out two thirds of their army, 2 Samuel 8:2, the other third under the reign of Solomon regained their freedom again but lost it later under the reign of Omri.

Coffman in his commentary, highlights an important point, it is as follows.

‘Later in 2 Kings 3:4-27 there is a fuller report of this rebellion of Moab, but apparently this brief mention of it occurs here as a preliminary to the explanation of why Ahaziah was unable to suppress the rebellion due to his injury.’

Ahaziah reigned in the north from around 853 to 852 B.C. and after falling through the framework of his upper room and injuring himself, sent messengers to consult, Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron.

Notice that Ahaziah didn’t seek to consult God but Baal-Zebub which means ‘Baal of flies’, this tells us just how far from God Israel have now come.

God knowing what was going on, intervened by sending an angel, Genesis 22:15-16, to ask them why they were going to consult Baal-Zebub. The angel asks them the question, ‘is there no God in Israel?’ It’s very clear that Elijah is somewhat ridiculing Ahaziah here, and it’s very clear that he wants to bring judgment upon Ahaziah because of his idolatry.

Israel were so far away from God and His will, they totally ignored God’s commandments and as a result they will eventually be taken away into captivity as a punishment.

‘When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, ‘Why have you come back?’ ‘A man came to meet us,’ they replied. ‘And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’ The king asked them, ‘What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?’ They replied, ‘He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.’ The king said, ‘That was Elijah the Tishbite.’ Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, ‘Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’ Elijah answered the captain, ‘If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!’ Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men. At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, ‘Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’ ‘If I am a man of God,’ Elijah replied, ‘may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!’ Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men. So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. ‘Man of God,’ he begged, ‘please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!’ The angel of the LORD said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.’ So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king. He told the king, ‘This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’ So he died, according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. As for all the other events of Ahaziah’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?’ 2 Kings 1:5-18

After Ahaziah’s messengers return to him and inform him of what Elijah had said, Ahaziah asks them ‘what kind of man was he?’ The clothes which Elijah was wearing were his common clothes, his clothes represent the moral, spiritual condition of Israel, they were rough and course.

He wore a garment of hair-cloth, and a leather belt, which was common clothing for God’s prophets, Matthew 3:4, but false prophets wore them too, Zechariah 13:4. If we learn anything from this type of clothing, it’s this, they weren’t comfortable to wear and they weren’t supposed to be.

There were three captains, who came along with their soldiers and approached Elijah. The first two captains invite Elijah to go to the king, but he declines, and their arrogance towards Elijah resulted in them and their solders being killed by God.

It wasn’t until the last captain, who showed Elijah some respect, probably because of what happened to the first two captains and their soldiers, did he accept the invite and the captain and his soldiers were spared. One possible reason for the first two captains deaths and their soldiers was to remind Israel that God still had true prophets among them.

In other words, Ahaziah needed to know and be reminded that God was only working through His prophets and not the false prophets of Baal.

Ahaziah died just as Elijah said he would, in his bed and he left Israel in a state of apostasy, which would eventually lead them into Assyrian captivity. Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram succeeded him, some translations have the name Jehoram, but this is the same person.

Coffman in his commentary says the following.

‘This is an example of chronological inconsistencies in Kings. A glance at 1 Kings 22:51 / 2 Kings 8:16 / 2 Kings 3:14, shows what the problem is.’ Rawlinson cleared it up by supposing that, Jehoshaphat had associated his son Jehoram with him in the throne upon the occasion of his going to war at Ramoth-Gilead.’

‘It is strange that both Israel and Judah should have had a king named Jehoram. This happened because Ahab and Jehoshaphat had brought the families together by a marriage, and after that, it was natural for the same name to have later appeared in the royal families of both kingdoms. Jehoram was another son of Ahab and thus a brother of Ahaziah, 2 Kings 8:16. It was his body that Jehu cast upon the plot of ground for which Ahab had murdered Naboth, 2 Kings 9:25.’

Go To 2 Kings 2

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Hebrews 12:1

MENU