OVERVIEW OF 2 KINGS
Author: Most likely written by Jeremiah after the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. where he remained and ministered. Also, both 2 Kings and his own book share similar content, style, and vocabulary.
Date: Covers from 853-852 B.C. when Ahaziah became king of Israel to Babylonian exile in 586 B.C.
Audience/Purpose: Kings was written to the nation of Israel to explain their deteriorating history was due to their kings and themselves not being true to God, but that He would be faithful to His promise to David to always have someone on his throne and preserve a remnant of His people for Himself.
Content/Layout (Numbers in parentheses are the 14 signs of Elisha, “double” Elijah’s 7 signs)
Chs. 1-17 - In spite of Elisha’s ministry, Israel’s decline, fall, and exile to Assyria (722 B.C.)
1:1-18 - Elijah pronounced death on Ahaziah and called fire from heaven on his men for consulting false god
2:1-25 - Elijah taken to heaven, Elisha received double portion, healed water (1), cursed jeering yutes (2)
3:1-27 - Joram (evil) son of Ahab became king of Israel, Moab attacked and defeated Israel
4:1-44 - Elisha provided oil to woman to buy food (3), prophesied a Shunammite woman to have a son (4), raised her dead child (5), cured bad pot of stew for prophets (6), multiplied 20 loaves for 100 men (7)
5:1-19a - Elisha healed Naaman of Aram of leprosy (8), who repented of his false worship and believed
5:19b-27 - Elisha cursed Gehazi with leprosy (9) for tricking Naaman out of money
6:1-7:20 - Elisha made iron axehead float (10), opened servant’s eyes to see heaven’s army and blinded eyes of Aram soldiers (11), predictions came true of better food prices and opposing officer getting none (12)
8:1-6 - Elisha’s direction and influence helped provide for Shunammite woman and son
8:7-15 - Elisha predicted Hazael would replace Ben-Hadad as king of Aram, which happened (13)
8:16-29 - Jehoram (evil), son of Jehoshaphat, and his son Ahaziah (evil) became kings of southern Judah
9:1-10:36 - Jehu (good then evil) son of Jehoshaphat anointed king of Israel by Elisha, finished destroying Ahab’s people, but did not turn away from Jeroboam’s sins
11:1-21 - Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, tried to kill rest of royal family, but baby Joash, Ahaziah’s son, was hidden, grew up and anointed king of Judah at 7 by priest Jehoiada, who also put Athaliah to death
12:1-21 - Joash (good) became king of Judah, rebuilt Temple, but did not remove high places, assassinated
13:1-25 - Jehu’s son, Jehoahaz (evil) and his son, Jehoash (evil), both became kings of Israel, Jehoash visited dying Elisha whose prophecy of Jehoash’s defeat of Aram and recovery of Israelite towns came true (14)
14:1-22 - Amaziah (good) son of Joash became king of Judah, arrogance led to defeat and assassination
14:23-29 - Jeroboam (evil) son of Jehoash became king of Israel, but used to save Israel from destruction
15:1-38 - Azariah (Uzziah) (good) became king of Judah, died of leprosy for not removing high places; Zechariah (evil), Shallum (evil), Menahem (evil), Pekahiah (evil), Pekah (evil) all became kings of Israel and died for their sin except Menahem, Jotham (good) son of Uzziah made king of Judah
16:1-20 - Ahaz (evil) son of Jotham became king of Judah, promoted false worship, made deal with Assyria
17:1-41 - Hoshea (evil) conspirator of Pekah became Israel’s last king, defeated and deported by Assyrians in 722 B.C. due to sin, king of Assyria resettled foreigners in Samaria who angered God by false worship
Chs. 18-25 - Southern Judah’s decline, fall, and exile to Babylon (586 B.C.)
18:1-19:37 - Hezekiah (good) son of Ahaz became king of Judah, more faithful than kings before him, but fortified cities of Judah were still captured by Assyria, Jerusalem surrounded, king Sennacherib mocked God, sought to intimidate people and Hezekiah, but through Isaiah’s encouragement and prayer, they trusted God who sent angel to strike down 185,000 Assyrians, Sennacherib murdered by his own sons
20:1-21 - Isaiah’s prayer healed Hezekiah’s illness but pride led him to show Babylonian messengers all his treasures, resulting in prophecy that it would all be taken to Babylon along with his family
21:1-26 - Mannaseh (most evil) son of Hezekiah became king of Judah and led them astray, replaced by his son Amon (evil) who was assassinated
22:1-23:30 - Josiah (good) son of Amon became king of Judah, humbled himself greatly at God’s Word found in the Temple being repaired, brought tremendous renewal, reform, revival, but was told by God that He would spare Josiah from seeing the disaster He would bring on Judah, Josiah was killed in battle
23:31-24:17 - Jehoahaz (evil) son of Josiah became king of Judah, Pharaoh of Egypt imprisoned him, his son Eliakim (Jehoiakim) (evil) make king in his place, invaded but not overcome by Babylon, replaced by his son Jehoiachin (evil), fell to Babylon and taken captive, replaced by uncle Mattaniah (changed to Zedekiah)
24:18-25:26 - Zedekiah (evil) rebelled against Babylon but Jerusalem seized (586 B.C.), Zedekiah captured, Jerusalem destroyed, he and many others taken to Babylon, Gedeliah appointed king but assassinated
25:27-30 - “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Amel-Marduk became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.”
Gospel Truths and Applications from 2 Kings
God will judge those who do evil but save and reward those who do right by faith, so we must respond to the invitation of the gospel to repent and believe in Christ and live for His righteousness. All the kings of Israel and most of those of Judah were “evil” and only a few did “right.” God judged severely those who persisted in evil but honored the faithfulness of David and that of the good kings and His prophets all the way down to the time of Jesus Christ, the one true perfectly righteous eternal King.
God responds to humble repentance and prayer, so we must learn to call on Him and trust Him when things look their darkest and most impossible. 2 Kings is a dark period for Israel, but there are also amazing accounts of God’s faithfulness and power on behalf of His faithful ones. God brought Jesus into the world during a dark period after 400 years of silence and raised Him from the dead after the darkest hour in history.
God is daily working to save His people and build His kingdom. At the end of 2 Kings, Jehoiachin ate at the king’s table everyday. Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 28:30-31, “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” God is still using the faithful sharing of the gospel by faithful followers of Christ to build up His kingdom by bringing repentant sinners to faith in Him and around His table of fellowship.
Discuss these truths and applications as they relate to your own life, our church, and society, and add any others you discovered in the discussion of 2 Kings not mentioned.