2nd Kings: Decline and Exile

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2nd Kings
Decline and Exile

Late Divided and Solitary Kingdoms

Background: Probably put in final form during the Exile using historical records
Theme: Events leading to the Exile
Outline: Late Divided Kingdom and Solitary Kingdom
Key Verse: So the LORD said, "I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, 'There shall my Name be.'" (2nd Kings 23:27, NIV)

2nd Kings Chapters Index


The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol I, Old Testament) is an excellent resource and is referred to as the BKC.

This book (originally a combined 1st and 2nd Kings) explains to the Hebrews why the LORD allowed His people to be taken into captivity.

I. Later Divided Kingdom (1-17)

A. Ahaziah (1)

1:2 If the original was 'Exalted Lord' in the Philistine language, then the changing of one letter in the Hebrew to make it 'Lord of the Flies' was probably a deliberate way of showing contempt for this 'god'. Flies would feast on a dead, rotting animal carcass, and lay eggs. The hatching larvae (maggots) would eat for a day or so. So, a dead, rotting carcass would be the "Lord of the Flies," an appropriate illustration of false gods.

1:9-15 The first captain 'went up' to Elijah and was destroyed. The second perhaps stayed at a 'safe' distance. The third pleaded for his men, and asked instead of demanded that Elijah come. What of the hundred men killed? It was important to the LORD that his prophet be recognized as His representative and be treated accordingly. It is a dangerous thing to 'demand' things of God. If a hundred lives are of value, how much more is the value of the glory and honor due to the LORD.

B. Joram (2:1-8:15)

2:2 Perhaps better translated as, "You may stay here." This would indicate a polite giving of permission. Elisha did not disobey a direct command, as the NIV implies.

2:9 Elisha asked for a 'double portion', realizing that of and by himself he could not accomplish the LORD's work. This is appropriate for us.

2:15 My interpretation is, 'the Spirit that was upon Elijah is now resting upon Elisha." It is the Holy Spirit, not Elijah's non-materiel being, which is upon Elisha.

2:24 Near the city of the golden calf, Elisha will accept no mocking of the LORD whom he represents.

3:13-19 It would take several years from the time they are seedlings until they can bear fruit. Cutting down good trees would cause damage for years.

3:27 Whose fury? The Moabites, the LORD, or Israel? My reading is that the Israelites were appalled at this sacrifice (even after a great battle), and called off this attack.

4:2-7 God provided oil in the measure of the woman's faith. That she had enough faith to gather the proper amount of containers is shown by the fact that she was able to pay off her debts and still have money left to live on. She did not need infinite faith, or even very great faith, just sufficient faith to believe God and gather enough jars, which she did. Not only should we have faith (however measured), but we should use it in obedience.

4:26-27 The woman apparently is distrustful of Gehazi, perhaps she discerns the hidden motives of his heart which are revealed later.

4:29 Perhaps there was no intention for the staff to heal, but simply to serve as a sign to leave the body alone until the prophet arrives.

5:2-3 A slave girl captured by foreigners, perhaps torn from her family, focused not on herself but on doing good for others. Even a child's testimony can be used in a powerful way by the Lord. It was not a prophet or king who witnessed, but a child slave. Do we have any excuse, then, for staying silent when our friends or co-workers have spiritual or physical needs?

5:11-14 Naaman had a few things going for him, the slave girl, his king, and servants not afraid to give their master wise counsel. He had the good sense to listen after he calmed down, and enough faith to go into the Jordan river seven times. Even with faith, if his character had been such that his servants were afraid to advise him, he could have returned home an angry leper. May we be willing to listen to advise (although comparing it to God's word).

5:17 Perhaps he will build an altar using the soil of Israel. If he viewed the LORD as being territorial, he is bringing some of the territory home.

5:25-27 These verses say a world about proper motivation for serving the Lord, and the temptations that some fall into. Gehazi had seen a resurrection from the dead, oil provided for a widow, and the cleansing of a leper, yet he craved silver. It is easy for us as well to see opportunities to gain wealth improperly even as we see the power of God displayed. Our Lord is able to provide abundantly, but greed resulting in abuse of the gifts of the Lord is never His good will for our lives.

5:26 I do not believe that Elisha's spirit was following Naaman, but the LORD's. Elisha is speaking as the mouth (prophet) of .God, and we may take the words as being the LORD's.

6:8 Remember that Naaman is Commander of the King of Aram's army. At the least, they are well aware of Elisha's abilities.

6:21-23 The sharing of a meal implied a two-direction obligation. By custom, having fed the soldiers Joram could not take advantage of them, say by demanding a ransom, or now put them to death. The soldiers, having accepted hospitality by eating, were obligated to be at peace with Joram.

7:1-2 The guard was quick to voice his unbelief and scoff at the Lord's word through Elisha. For him this had disastrous consequences. It would be good to consider whether the Lord is indeed working before criticizing. How often we dismiss a testimony of an emotional Christian before reflecting on the evidence of God's hand! This should not silence us if we find that what is said is contrary to the revealed Word! However, we should not be quick to dismiss the Lord working because of our unbelief.

7:8-9 The lepers were social outcasts, which is one reason they were not inside. Even these lepers realized that the good news must be shared with the dying. It is easy to apply this physical situation to the spiritual situation we are in.

8:12 Elisha realizes that the continued lack of repentance in Israel, even after many cycles of oppression and rescue by the LORD, will eventually lead to great misery in Israel.

8:18 "Did evil." A simple summary of the life of Joram.=

D. Ahaziah (8:25-9:29)

8:27 Summary: "He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the LORD ..."(NIV)

E. Jehu (9:30-10:36)

9:31 Calling Jehu 'Zimri' is a barbed taunt. Zimri lived only a week after taking power as Jehu is doing.

10:28,29 Summary: "destroyed Baal worship ... did not turn away from ... golden calves at Bethel and Dan". We see the sin of Jeroboam continuing through the centuries.

F. Athaliah (11:1-16)

11:4 Strict obedience and secrecy is needed, hence the sacred oath. A single officer warning Athaliah could ruin the plan.

G. Joash (11:17-12:21)

11:12 According to Deuteronomy, a copy of the covenant is to be given to the king at his crowning. The covenant may be the book of Deuteronomy (my belief) or the entire Torah, or some selected portion of the Law.

12:2 The high priest, Jehoiada, was a virtual regent. By the time Joash is 30 (verse 6), he is firmly in control and gives orders to the priests. The Chronicles state that he was not faithful to the LORD in his later years (after Jehoiada died).

H. Jehoahaz (13:1-9)

13:4-6 Even a time of seeking the LORD and being delivered did not reform the people for long.

I. Jehoash (13:10-25)

13:11 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD".

13:18-19 Perhaps the king started to feel foolish shooting arrows ... but for whatever reason the Lord honored the number of arrows the king shot and no more. An application may be our prayer life: do we fail to pray completely because we grow weary, or do not really expect God to be listening to every word? Are victories missing in our lives or in the life of our church because we do not ask?

J. Amaziah (14:1-22)

14:3 Summary: "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD."

14:13-14 This event would be the subject of Obadiah (if we follow the early date for that book). A late date for Obadiah would make the subject of his book the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar.

K. Jeroboam (14:23-29)

14:24 Summary: "He did evil ..."

14:25 This is approximately the time of the prophets Jonah, Hosea, Joel, and Amos.

L. Azariah (15:1-7)

15:3 Summary: "Did what was right ..." Although the presumption f offering a sacrifice in the temple (Chronicles, only to be done by priests) was punished by leprosy. His death was in the year of Isaiah's call (Isaiah 6).

M. Zechariah (15:8-12)

15:9 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his fathers had done."

N. Shallum (15:13-16)

15:13 Summary: "... and he reigned in Samaria one month."

O. Menahem (15:17-22)

15:18 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD."

P. Pekah (15:23-26)

15:24 Summary: "Pekahiah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. "

Q. Pekah (15:27-31)

15:28 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD."

R. Jotham (15:32-38)

15:34 Summary: "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done."

S. Ahaz (16)

16:2 Summary: "Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God." Note that David is a distant ancestor by now, yet is called his father.

16:3 This is a reference to the Canaanite practice of child sacrifice. It is detestable in to the LORD, and shows how far even the kings of Judah are able to stoop in sin.

16:10 Ahaz is impressed by the pagan temple in Damascus, and in deference to the Assyrians he will replace the LORD's alter with a pagan one. He does keep the original altar 'just in case' he might have to ask the LORD for guidance or a favor someday. The specifics of the Temple and furnishings, inside and out, were clearly given by revelation. Ahaz was in rebellion against the expressed will of the LORD when he made these alterations.

T. Hoshea (17:1-6)

17:2 "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him." The cup of wrath was full and the judgement would come, although the last king was comparatively not as evil as the ones before him."

U. Israel's Captivity (17:7-41)

17:9 While publicly claiming to worship the LORD, they worshipped in ways the LORD forbade (idolatry), ignored His prophets, and secretly practiced sorcery, divination, and child sacrifice.

17:21-23 Some policies instituted at the very beginning of Israel, namely worshipping the golden calves, would bear ultimate fruit two hundred years later. There were additional sins and apostasy, but the golden calves were a primary reason for the exile of the Northern Kingdom. God was merciful in giving time to repent while warning Israel, but Israel did not repent.

17:23 This verse shows the Northern Kingdom still in exile at the time II Kings is written. I assume this would be during the exile of the Southern Kingdom, and that historical records were used.

17:27-28 These verses show a 'missionary' to gentiles settled in Samaria. He went at the order of the Assyrian king to the peoples who replaced the Israelites. These gentiles became sort of half-Jews, giving a form of worship to the LORD yet also worshipping other gods. In short, they offered the type of outward worship that the Israelites had offered. As with many today, it is fine to pray to God in addition to everything else they do. That is, until He interferes with their daily lives or expects them to stop serving other gods.

II. Surviving Kingdom of Judah (18-25)

A. Hezekiah (18-20)

18:3 Summary: "He did what was right ..."

18:3-4 The bronze serpent was made at God's command as a means of delivering the Israelites from a plague of snakes (a divine judgment) during the wanderings. This serpent was a type of Christ, for Jesus would later say, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life" (John 3:14,15). Although it originally had a good purpose, when Hezekiah saw that the people worshipped, it he rightly destroyed it. 'Sacred' objects become stumbling blocks when the object is more important than the reality. This may even happen with images of our Lord on the cross or buildings intended to glorify God. It may feel like sacrilege to turn our backs on some religious articles, but such things cannot remain as barriers to our faith.

19:19 Hezekiah pleads on the basis of the honor of the LORD's name and "that all nations might know ..." One of the national purposes of Israel was to be a light to the nations.

19:20 Isaiah was active shortly before the fall of the Northern Kingdom (722 BC) and probably continued until about 685 BC.

20:12-14 Oh, the folly of bragging and the price of pride! By seeking to impress the Babylonians with his great wealth and majesty, he ensured that they would seek to conquer Jerusalem! Our pride also has evil side effects; rather than raising us up, it brings us down.

B. Manasseh (21:1-18)

21:2 Summary: "He die evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites."

21:6 Again the sacrifice of a child is mentioned.

21:9 Although Manasseh is mentioned as leading them, the point of this verse is that the whole nation of Israel was following him, and doing more evil than the Canaanites had.

C. Amon (21:19-26)

21:20 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done."

D. Josiah (22-23:30)

22:1 Josiah was eight, and probably influenced in a positive way by his mother, Jedidah. Possibly the death of the whole inner circle of Amon's advisors who rebelled and were executed caused righteous advisors to advance.

22:2 Summary: "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD an walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left."

22:11 The effect of the reading of God's word is well worth studying. Other kings were instructed by prophets or priests, although they all should have had the Book of the Covenant. Josiah was much like us, in that his primary source here is the written word (although he afterwards consulted a prophetess, and had been in contact with the priests). We should certainly join him in a serious response to the awesome God we see revealed. Incidentally, the Book of the Law was actually a scroll, probably the scroll of Deuteronomy.

22:15-20 The LORD confirms that the disaster spoken of in Deuteronomy will come upon Judah. Because of Josiah's actions, it will not happen in his lifetime.

23:7 The degradation of worship had gone as far as male prostitution in the very temple of the LORD. It is amazing what ungodly things are done under the cover of religion.

E. Jehoahaz (23:31-35)

23:32 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his fathers had done." A short reign, three months, was enough to show that the godly life of Josiah did not pass on to his sons. He was carried off to Egypt where he died.

F. Jehoiakim (23:36-24:7)

23:37 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD,  just as his fathers had done."  The second son of Josiah, he had been passed over in favor of the third son (Jehoahaz). Now the Pharaoh makes him king, but as a vassal of Egypt, and with tribute to pay. Then he becomes vassal to Nebuchadnezzar after an invasion of Babylon. Before his death, he rebels against Nebuchadnezzar, trusting the Pharaoh to protect him. He dies while Nebuchadnezzar is marching to Judah.

G. Jehoiachin (24:8-17)

24:9 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father had done." He will surrender to Nebuchadnezzar and live in captivity. Daniel is one of the young men taken into captivity, where he will be trained in Babylonian service.

H. Zedekiah (24:18-25:7)

24:19 Summary: "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done." He was Jehoiakim's uncle, made king by Nebuchadnezzar. After a few years he rebels, resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. His sons are killed in front of him, and then his eyes are put out.

I. Judah under Babylonian Rule (25:8-30)

25:23 Gedaliah is made governor, not king, but amazingly there is further rebellion and Gedaliah is assassinated. The remaining people flee to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them.

25:28 Jehoiachin is given royal status at the court of Evil-Merodach, in the position of a vassal king.

Chronology of Second Kings (Barton Payne)

Northern KingdomSouthern Kingdom
Jehoahaz814-798Joash 835-796
Jeroboam II*793-753Azariah*791-739*

* indicates co-reign.
In Northern Kingdom, new dynasties started with Jehu and Shallum.
All kings of the Southern Kingdom were of the line of David (Athaliah was a queen).

Please send comments or suggestions to ron@iStudyBible.com
Updated March 2012

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