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The State of Faith
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Renewing Your Mind


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Old Testament Survey

2 Kings

Key Verses


Key Chapters

Chapter 2
Chapters 4-6
Chapter 17-19
Chapters 22-25

Key Concepts


Thoughts for Reading

What is the “canon” followed by the kings?
What is the standard you walk by?

2 Kings 2:11
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Second Kings picks up where 1 Kings leaves off, demonstrating the consistency and unity which existed in this book prior to the “publishers” dividing it for the convenience of the copyist and translators. It is a continuation of the fall of the two kingdoms. The glorious promise seen in David and Solomon’s early reign give way to more and more apostasy which God ultimately punishes. In between is the occasional bright light of a faithful leader.

James calls Elijah a man like us, given to fervent, effective prayer (5:16-18). He should be our example of how to pray. Elijah was a true man of God.

The first ten chapters are really about the ministry of Elisha, although chapter 1 and the start of chapter 2 deal with the end of Elijah’s career. Elijah becomes the picture of the believer translated to heaven without dying. The faithful prophet receives the reward of avoiding death. His return is foreseen by Malachi (Mal 4:5, 6). John the Baptist comes in the power of Elijah and the prophet is blessed to appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-9).

Elisha is no less God’s man. Elijah’s successor performs more miracles than any prophet in the Scriptures, save for Jesus. If miracles are designed to confirm the messenger, Elisha was at the top of the list!

2 Kings 10:28
Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.

The New American Standard used the verb “eradicated” to describe this event. This characterizes the proper attitude the Jewish kings were to display toward the foreign gods. It is sad that most fail to do this. From chapter 11 to the end, the book of 2 Kings is the story of the fall of the nations.

A Simple Outline of 2 Kings

The Divided Kingdom (1:1-17:41)

The Surviving Kingdom of Judah (18:1-25:30)

Hezekiah is described as walking in the ways of David. The description is that he trusted in the Lord so that there was none like him, either before or after (2 kings 18:3, 5). His is the only story to be told in three books of the Bible – here, in 2 Chronicles 29-31 and in Isaiah 36 & 37.

As was mentioned in the introduction to 1 Kings, a few of the kings of Judah walked properly in the eyes of God. Hezekiah and Josiah are two of the great kings of the period. Both lead revivals which draw the nation back to God. Both have their faults, but both had hearts pointed to God. Josiah’s religious revival may be the greatest of the entire period. He centralized the worship of the entire nation in Jerusalem, inviting the people from the Northern Kingdom to attend the renewal of the covenant in the cleansed Temple. A book of the law (perhaps, Deuteronomy, but probably the entire Pentateuch) was found in the Temple and read to all the people. God’s Word was heard by all.

Of the good kings, only Hezekiah, Joash, and Josiah make public commitments of their faith. How public is your commitment?

Despite a great reign, Josiah fell victim to his own ways. This is a time of great conflict between the rival empires of Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt. Egypt is in decline. Babylon has not yet blossomed to its full height. Palestine is the battle ground between these nations. Egypt moves to fight its enemies and Josiah insists against God’s advice that he must go and fight. Josiah is killed ending another great reign (23:29, 30).

The Assyrians brought in peoples from other lands to keep the ground and pay taxes on the crops. These people settled around Samaria and inter-married with the poor Jewish people left in the land. This group became the Samaritans, the despised people of Jesus’ day.

In the north, Israel reaches its height under the reign of Jeroboam II, who reigns for 41 years. Jeroboam II dies in about 747 B.C. and the plight of the Northern Kingdom is all downhill. Chapters 15-17 tell of the final days of the Northern Kingdom and the removal of the tribes into captivity by the Assyrians in 722/721 B.C. God has punished the nations for the sins of Jeroboam I and all who followed after his false cult.

To show that it is all in the heart and not in one’s genes, Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, becomes the worse of the kings of Judah. His evil deeds included:

Yet, God allowed Manasseh to reign fifty-five years, the longest reign in either kingdom. He was taken captive by the Assyrians, an event which caused even this sinner to call out for God (2 Chron 33:11-19). God heeded his prayer, allowing him to return to Palestine. Upon his return, Manasseh showed his true repentance was valid by removing the high places and the idols from the Temple. Unfortunately, his son Amon followed the evil ways. God allows Josiah’s revival to undo some of this damage (2 Chron 36:16, 17).

This is the second deportation in about 597 B.C. Daniel was carried into captivity in the first in 604 B.C.

In the end, the failure of the Southern Kingdom is like that of their brothers to the north. By now Babylon has come into power and defeated the Assyrians. Jehoiachin surrenders to Nebuchadnezzar and is carried into captivity. The fall of the Southern Kingdom has begun. Ultimately, there will three deportations of the people of Judah into the Babylonia kingdom and the Temple will be destroyed. Second Kings ends with the release of Jehoiachin in Babylon. He eats at the table of the King of Babylon, a foreshadowing of the promise to come to the Jewish nation.

Jesus in 2 Kings

“The man of God” is first used in Scripture as a description of Moses. This description applied to Elisha 29 times in 2 Kings.

Elijah represents the forerunner of John the Baptist and the ministries of both Elijah and Elisha are similar to that of Christ’s, although the analogy would best run to the ministry of Elisha following the ministry of Elijah, just as Christ followed the Baptist. The differences between the two prophets is similar to that of John and Jesus. Elijah performed public acts, before kings, while Elisha performed a huge number of miracles, especially for individuals in need. While Elijah emphasized the law, God’s judgment, and the severity of such judgment, Elisha shows grace, love, tenderness, a caring for people. Elijah came preaching repentance. Elisha came showing kindness. Both performed miracles to attest to their ministry. What a great picture of the Messiah to come!

Miracles are a part of the Bible. Except for the time of Jesus and the Apostles, there are two periods of Miracles. One is that of Moses. The other is the time of Elijah and Elisha. Consider, for example, the miracles of Elisha:

The Miracles Performed by Elisha

Parts the Jordan River

2 Kings 2:13-14

Makes Jericho spring drinkable

2 Kings 2:19-22

Sends bears to punish irreverent youths

2 Kings 2:23-25

Floods ditches to confuse Moabites

2 Kings 3:1-27

Multiplies widow’s oil

2 Kings 4:1-7

Shunammite woman bears a son

2 Kings 4:8-17

Resurrects Shunammite’s son

2 Kings 4:18-37

Purifies poisoned stew

2 Kings 4:38-44

Heals Naaman’s leprosy

2 Kings 5:1-14

Gehazi struck with leprosy

2 Kings 5:15-27

Floats lost ax head

2 Kings 6:1-7

Gives special sight to king’s messenger

2 Kings 6:16, 17

Blinds the Aramean army

2 Kings 6:8-23

His bones resurrect a dead man

2 Kings 13:20, 21




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