Author: Unknown – Possibly Jeremiah or a group of prophets
The two books of Kings follow the monarchy to it’s summit with Solomon and the nation’s division, decline, and fall under Jeroboam and Rehoboam. Kings also gives an outline of the double captivity of Israel under the Assyrians and Judah under the Chaldeans.
Two key passages from the book of II Kings:
II Kings 17:22-23 – For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which
he did; they did not depart from them, until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the
prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.
II Kings 23:27 – the LORD said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have
removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house
of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.'”
II Kings 25 is a key chapter in the book of II Kings. It records the utter destruction of Jerusalem and its glorious
temple. Only the poor of Israel are left, and even some of them flee for their lives to Egypt. Hope remains alive with the remnant in Babylonian Captivity as Evil-Merodach frees Jehoiachin from prison and treats him kindly.
Obeservations about II Kings:
1. II Kings continues the drama begun in I Kings.
2. The majority of II Kings was written before the Babylonian Captivity (II Kings 17:34-45). However, the last two chapters (24-25) were added to the book after the Babylonian Captivity was over and were written by someone other than Jeremiah. The last recorded event in II Kings is the release of Jehoiachin (II Kings 25:27-30) which takes place in 560 B.C. The prophet Jeremiah was forced to flee to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:1-8) It is interesting to observe that II Kings 24:18 is almost the same as Jeremiah 52.
3. Time frames in II Kings include: Chapters 1-17 cover the 131 years from 853 B.C. (King Ahaziah) of Israel) to 722
B.C., the Assyrian Captivity of Israel, Chapters 18-25 cover the 155 years from the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign in 715 B.C. to the release of Jehoiachin in Babylon in 560 B.C.
4. The United Kingdom of Israel lasted for 120 years (1053-933 B.C.) The Northern Kingdom of Israel existed for another 210 years (931-721 B.C.)
before being taken captive by the Assyrians. Total length was 210 years.
5. The Southern Kingdom of Judah continued for an additional 135 years (721-586 B.C.) before entering Babylonian captivity. Total length was 345 years.
6. The total kingdom period lasted some 467 years (1053-586 B.C.)
7. The Northern Kingdom (Israel)
Nine different dynasties (Family line of kings) came to power over its 210 year history. All but one of the 19 dynasties were created by murdering the
previous king. Nineteen kings reigned but the character of each was bad.
• Jereboam • Ahaziah • Zechariah • Nadab • Jehoram • Shallum
• Baasha • Jehu • Menahem • Elah • Jehoahaz • Pekahiah • Zimri • Jehoash • Pekah
• Omri • Jeroboam II • Hoshea • Ahab
The prophets in the Northern Kingdom were:
• Elijah • Amos
• Elisha • Hosea
8. The Southern Kingdom (Judah)
The twenty kings of Judah reign as one continuous dynasty in spite of the efforts of Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter, to kill all the descendants of David. Only Joash survived. Twenty kings reigned during the 345 year period of the Kingdom of Judah.
• Rehoboam • Joash • Amon • Abijah • Amaziah • Josiah • Asa • Uzziah • Jehoahaz
• Jehoshaphat • Jotham • Jehoiachim • Jehoram • Ahaz • Jehoiachin • Ahaziah • Hezekiah • Zedekiah
• Athaliah • Manasseh
Eight of the twenty kings had good character.
• Asa • Uzziah • Jehoshaphat • Jotham • Joash • Hezekiah • Amaziah • Josiah
The prophets in the Southern Kingdom were:
• Obadiah • Nahum • Joel • Zephaniah • Isaiah • Jeremiah • Micah • Habakkuk
II Kings traces the history of:
Chapters 1-17 record the story of Israel’s corruption in a relentless succession of bad kings from Ahaziah to Hoshea. The situation of Judah during this time (Jehoram to Ahaz) is somewhat better, but far from ideal. This dark period in the northern kingdom of Israel is interrupted only by the ministries of
such godly prophets as Elijah and Elisha. At the end of Elijah’s miraculous ministry, Elisha is installed and authenticated as his
successors. He is a force for righteousness in a nation that never served the true God or worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem. Elisha’s ministry is characterized by miraculous provisions of sustenance and life. Through him God demonstrates His gracious care for the nation, and His concern for any person who desires to come to Him. However, like his forerunner Elijah, Elisha is basically rejected by Israel’s leadership. Elisha instructs one of his prophetic assistants to anoint Jehu king over Israel. Jehu fulfills the prophecies concerning Ahab’s descendants by putting them to death. He killed Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, Ahab’s sons, and the priests of Baal.
However, Jehu does not depart from the calf worship set up by Jereboam. The loss of the house of Ahab means the alienation of Israel and Judah and the weakening of both Israel and Judah. Israel’s enemies begin to get the upper hand. Meanwhile in Judah, Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah kills all the descendants of David,
except for Joash, and usurps the throne. Jehoiada the priest eventually removes her from the throne and places Joash in power. Joash restores the temple and serves God.
Syria gains control over Israel. There is no response to God’s chastisement. The kings and people in Israel refuse to repent. Nevertheless, there is a period of restoration under Jereboam II, but the continuing series of wicked kings in Israel leads to its overthrow by Assyria.
Of Israel’s 19 kings, not one is righteous in God’s sight. All but one of its nine dynasties (family line of kings) are created by murdering the
previous king. In Judah, where there is only one dynasty (the house of David), 8 of its 20 rules do what is right before God. Nevertheless, Judah’s collapse finally comes, resulting in the Babylonian exile. Chapters 18-25 of II Kings read more easily than chapters 1-17 because alternating the histories of the northern and southern kingdoms is no longer necessary because only Judah remains.
Six years before the overthrow of Israel’s capital of Samaria, Hezekiah becomes king of Judah. Because of Hezekiah’s exemplary faith and reforms, God spares Jerusalem from Assyria and brings a measure of prosperity to Judah. However, Hezekiah’s son Manasseh is so idolatrous that his long reign leads to the
downfall of Judah. Even Josiah’s later reforms cannot stem the tide of evil. The four kings who succeed him are extremely wicked. They are:
Judgment comes with three deportations to Babylon, some 900 miles away. The third comes in 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem and the
temple. Still, the book of II Kings ends on a note of hope with God preserving a remnant for Himself.