The decline of both Israel and Judah (the divided kingdoms) continues due to spiritual idolatry and apostasy. The ministry of Elisha (taking over for Elijah) is now highlighted but without any impact of lasting spiritual reformation despite the overthrow of Baal worship. The result is that Israel falls to the nation of Assyria and Judah fails to learn from that tragic development and eventually falls to the nation of Babylon. The righteous reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah in Judah fail to achieve sufficient reforms to prevent the promised judgment of a 70 year captivity.
IDOLATRY AND SPIRITUAL COMPROMISE LEAD TO THE JUDGMENT OF DISPERSION AND BONDAGE FOR BOTH ISRAEL AND JUDAH
2 Kings 17:7-8 “Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced.”
2 Kings 17:22-23 “The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile form their own land to Assyria until this day.”
I. (1:1 – 13:25) IDOLATRY AND SPIRITUAL COMPROMISE CONFRONTED BY THE PROPHETIC MINISTRY OF ELISHA –
IMPORTANT LESSONS REGARDING BOTH SALVATION AND JUDGMENT
A. (1:1-18) FOLLY OF IDOLATRY — DENYING ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESISTING GOD PROVE DISASTROUS SINCE GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE
B. (2:1-25) AUTHORITY AND POWER FOR PROPHETIC MINISTRY TRANSFERRED FROM ELIJAH TO ELISHA —
C. (3:1-27) ELISHA’S PRESCRIPTION FOR VICTORY =
DEPEND SOLELY ON GOD – NOT TRUSTING THE ARM OF THE FLESH OR JUST OBEYING PARTIALLY
D. (4:1 – 6:7) MIRACLES OF ELISHA —
DEMONSTRATING GOD’S ABUNDANT AND GRACIOUS PROVISION FOR HIS PEOPLE
E. (6:8 – 8:15) MINISTRY OF ELISHA –
FAITHFULLY PROCLAIMING THE PERSON OF GOD AND HIS MESSAGE OF SALVATION AND JUDGMENT
F. (8:16 – 13:25) EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE DEATH OF ELISHA –
PARTIAL AND TEMPORARY REFORMS CANNOT PREVENT COMING JUDGMENT
II. (14:1 -17:41) TRACKING BOTH KINGDOMS LEADING UP TO THE FALL OF SAMARIA AND THE ASSYRIAN CAPTIVITY OF ISRAEL
A. (14:1-29) REIGN OF AMAZIAH IN JUDAH AND JEROBOAM II IN ISRAEL —
GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL TO HIS WORD AND TO HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE
DESPITE THEIR FAILURE TO REMAIN LOYAL IN TRUSTING HIM
B. (15:1-38) UNSTABLE SUCCESSION OF KINGS IN ISRAEL SANDWICHED BETWEEN TWO RIGHTEOUS KINGS IN JUDAH —
SHOW THE CONTRAST BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH – YET CONSISTENT DECLINE
C. (16:1-20) AHAZ’S EVIL REIGN IN THE SOUTH –
WHEN LEADERS GOVERN BY COMPROMISE INSTEAD OF CONVICTION THE SHORT TERM GAINS WILL BE WIPED OUT BY DIVINE JUDGMENT
D. (17:1-41) END GAME FOR ISRAEL – HOSHEA’S EVIL REIGN IN THE NORTH –
THE FALL OF THE NORTHERN KINGDOM AND THE ASSYRIAN RESETTLEMENT WITH ITS SYNCRETISTIC RELIGION
III. (18:1 – 25:21) TRACKING JUDAH’S KINGS LEADING UP TO THE FALL OF JERUSALEM AND THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
A. (18:1 – 20:21) HEZEKIAH’S RIGHTEOUS REIGN IN THE SOUTH
B. (21:1-26) MANASSEH AND AMON – THE END OF THE LINE —
THE APEX OF APOSTASY AND IDOLATRY UNDER MANASSEH AND
AMON ELICITS SEVERE JUDGMENT UPON JUDAH AND JERUSALEM
C. (22:1 – 23:30) JOSIAH’S RIGHTEOUS REIGN IN THE SOUTH
D. (23:31 – 24:20) JUDAH’S KINGS SEEMINGLY CONTROLLED BY EITHER EGYPT OR BABYLON –
BUT GOD’S CONTROL OF THE NATIONS CONTROLS THE FATE OF HIS PEOPLE
E. (25:1-21) THE FALL OF JERUSALEM AND THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY —
DESTRUCTION, DEPORTATION, DESECRATION, EXECUTION AND EXILE — GOD TURNS THE LIGHTS OUT ON HIS HOLY CITY AND EXILES HIS APOSTATE PEOPLE
(25:22-30) HINT OF HOPE — TWO APPENDICES – TYING UP SOME LOOSE ENDS —
DESPITE JUDAH’S SAD ENDING, ALL IS NOT LOST FOREVER
A. (:22-26) APPENDIX #1 –
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE JEWS WHO REMAINED IN JUDAH?
EXILED TO EGYPT AFTER SLAYING GELALIAH
B. (:27-30) APPENDIX #2 –
WHAT HAPPENED TO JEHOIACHIN IN BABYLON?
ELEVATED TO POSITION OF FAVOR AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM PRISON
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
To fill in the gaps of our knowledge regarding the history of Israel and Judah throughout the succession of the various kings as told through the lens of the prophets of God. This background informs our biblical theological perspective.
To enjoy some of the epic stories surrounding the ministry of Elisha (who took over for Elijah).
To understand the importance of obedience to the covenantal obligations and how disobedience, idolatry and spiritual compromise lead to the judgment of dispersion and captivity.
To see how seriously God treats sin — actions have consequences.
To elevate the Word of God so that we are willing to stand alone on biblical convictions.
To highlight the impact of the parents (both positively and negatively) on the spiritual development of their children.
To see that even in such desperate times as these, God provided a glimmer of hope due to His faithfulness to His covenantal promises. Earthly thrones may disappoint, but the throne of Messiah will be established forever.
GotQuestions.org: Second Kings depicts the downfall of the divided kingdom. Prophets continue to warn the people that the judgment of God is at hand, but they will not repent. The kingdom of Israel is repeatedly ruled by wicked kings, and, even though a few of Judah’s kings are good, the majority of them lead the people away from worship of the Lord. These few good rulers, along with God’s prophets, cannot stop the nation’s decline. The Northern Kingdom of Israel is eventually destroyed by the Assyrians, and about 136 years later the Southern Kingdom of Judah is destroyed by the Babylonians.
There are three prominent themes present in the Book of 2 Kings. First, the Lord will judge His people when they disobey and turn their backs on Him. The Israelites’ unfaithfulness was reflected in the evil idolatry of the kings and resulted in God exercising His righteous wrath against their rebellion. Second, the word of the true prophets of God always comes to pass. Because the Lord always keeps His word, so too are the words of His prophets always true. Third, the Lord is faithful. He remembered His promise to David (2 Samuel 7:10-13), and, despite the disobedience of the people and the evil kings who ruled them, the Lord did not bring David’s family to an end.
Robert Hawker: Indeed there is one circumstance, and that of great note, to be attended to in the perusal of the second book of the Kings, with which the first hath not such immediate connection: namely, that the greater part of the prophets, whose writings are placed at the end of the Bible, ministered to the church in their respective ages, during the period which this second book of the Kings records; that is from the days of Uzziah to the time of the Babylonish captivity. All from Isaiah to Zephaniah (Ezekiel and Daniel excepted) exercised their ministry during the years this second book of the Kings compriseth. It will be a point of no small importance, to the help of the pious Reader to keep this in his recollection, while going over this book of God.
John Davis: The fundamental purpose of the books of Kings is to continue the history of the theocracy until its conclusion in the Babylonian exile. Even though the author’s chief concern was with the Davidic line, he included considerable material which deal with the fortunes and failures of the Northern Kingdom. The writer’s approach to the subject matter was from the standpoint of the plans and purposes of God as it related to His chosen people. The writings are intensely theological and yet extremely practical. The books of Kings are very important to the Bible student because they give him the cultural and historical background of the ministry of Israel’s great prophets.
J. Sidlow Baxter: The Second Book of Kings, which opens with the translation of Elijah to heaven, and closes with the transportation of the captive Jews to Babylon, is more tragic than all which have preceded it. Nay, more than that, it is the most tragic national record ever written. The elect people, through whom the gracious purposes of God were to have been developed for the enlightenment and regeneration of the whole race, become more and more steeped in infidelity and moral degradation, until finally the measure of their wickedness is full, judgment falls, pitiless foes wreak vengeance on them, and drag them from their own land into humiliating captivity.
Gleason Archer: The theme of these two books was to demonstrate on the basis of Israel’s history that the welfare of the nation ultimately depended upon the sincerity of its faithfulness to the covenant with Jehovah, and that the success of any ruler was to be measured by the degree of his adherence to the Mosaic constitution and his maintenance of a pure and God-honoring testimony before the heathen. The purpose of this record was to se forth those events which were important from the standpoint of God and His program of redemption. The author had no intention of glorifying Israel’s heroes out of nationalistic motives; hence he omitted even those passing achievements which would have assumed great importance in the eyes of a secular historian. His prime concern was to show how each successive ruler dealt with God in his covenant responsibilities.
Chuck Swindoll: Theme
World affairs played a heavy role in Israel’s and Judah’s destinies. Yet, the author of 2 Kings directly connected the Israelites’ apostasy—led by their wicked kings—to their national destruction, pointing it out as God’s judgment on His wayward children. Despite repeated warnings from God’s prophets to turn from their ways and return to God, the people continued to live in sin. To their regret, they did not believe that God would allow their nation to be ruined by foreign invaders.
Yet God did not forget His promise to David, either. God saved a remnant from among the people and kept the royal line intact so that one day His people could return to their land to await the promised Redeemer.