Bible Study: 2 Kings – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 2 Kings

This is the second part of the book of Kings. Originally this book and the preceding book were combined into one longer book in the Hebrew Bible. The same thing happened with the books of Samuel and Chronicles (immediately before and after the books of Kings).

Second Kings covers about 270 years of history. This includes the reign of Ahaziah (son of King Ahab) to the Babylonian captivity and a bit beyond. The book covers about 26 years into the captivity (2 Kings 25:27).

Author

It is not certain who author of the book was, but tradition says that Jeremiah the prophet wrote the book.

Date Written

This book ends with the Babylonian captivity (plus a few years). Its contents end around 586 BC. The book was probably written some time between 586 and 540 BC if Jeremiah was the author. Jeremiah also wrote the book bearing his name about the same time.

Purpose of 2 Kings

Like the other books of history, this book seems to be more historical in nature as opposed to trying to drive home a certain lesson. It traces the history of Israel from the divided kingdom after the death of Ahab until the Assyrian captivity of Israel and the Babylonian captivity of Judah.

In the first and second books of Kings, the reader can see the progression of Israel from its glory to its downfall. The history of the wickedness of the kings and the nation show the decline and captivity of the great and mighty nation of Israel. When Israel began to abandon the God of heaven and chose to worship other gods and ideologies the nation declined in spirituality. Their sin resulted in punishment by slavery like they escaped in Egypt.

Key Verses

2 Kings 8:19 “Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.”

2 Kings 17:7, 8 “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.”

2 Kings 17:18-23 “Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.”

2 Kings 22:1, 2 “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.”

2 Kings 24:2 “And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.”

Key Words

  • King – Used about 340 times.
  • Prophet – Used 31 times.

 

Main Characters

Elijah, Elisha, Naaman, Jehu, Hezekiah and Josiah.

Outline of 2 Kings

  1. Elisha (2 Kings 1-13)
  2. History of the Divided Kingdom (2 Kings 14-17)
  3. History of the Southern Kingdom (2 Kings 18-25)

Summary of 2 Kings

King Ahab’s son Ahaziah took the throne of the kingdom after the death of Ahab in 1 Kings. However, the book opens with the story of him suffering a fall. Elijah had already prophesied the death of Ahaziah. Messengers from the king came to Elijah. But they had wicked purposes. Therefore, God rained down fire on them and killed 100 messengers and their captains. The third set of messengers humbled themselves before Elijah and God gave Elijah the word to go with them to the king. (2 Kings 1)

Chapter 2 is the story of Elijah’s translation to heaven. He already had a man who would take up the work of God after him. His name was Elisha. Elisha stayed by Elijah while asking God to be blessed as Elijah was with boldness. He wanted to serve God in the same manner as Elijah. God sent a fiery chariot to separate the two men and then Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind. (2 Kings 2)

Elisha continued the ministry of Elijah by predicting events and proclaiming the words of God. Elisha performed many miracles including the healing of the leper named Naaman. Elisha refused to accept any payment for the miracle. But Elisha’s servant lied to Naaman to gain some money for himself. As a result, God struck the servant with leprosy. (2 Kings 3-5)

Elisha continued to prophesy and perform miracles until the reign of Joash in Israel (the northern kingdom). The death of Elisha is recorded in chapter 13.

The next section of the book (chapters 14-17) shows the history of the divided kingdom with an intertwining of the two groups of kings. There is a greater focus on the southern kingdom, Judah. Many kings and events are listed in this section. Most of the kings reigned for short times. However, King Azariah (also known as Uzziah) reigned 52 years. This section concludes with Israel being carried away by the Assyrian army to Syria. The southern kingdom (Judah) continued for a few more years.

Even though the two books of Kings talk much about the wicked kings of Israel and Judah, there were also some very good kings. Under King Hezekiah there was a spiritual revival in the nation. As a result of Hezekiah’s prayers, God destroyed the Assyrian army and spared Hezekiah’s life when he became gravely ill. (2 Kings 18-20)

Another good king was King Josiah. He brought further spiritual growth to the nation of Israel. (2 Kings 22, 23)

Israel began to make alliances with Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. This ultimately resulted in the fall of the nation of Israel. They were taken captive by the Babylonian Empire. Those who were not carried off into slavery in Babylon fled to Egypt.

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