Scriptures

Complete Study Of The Book Of 2 Kings

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

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Complete Study Of The Book Of 2 Kings  

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Philippians 4:8

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