The Second book of Kings continues the history of Israel and Judah to the captivities. It also includes the account of the translation of Elijah and the ministry of Elisha. During this period Amos and Hosea prophesied in Israel, and Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah prophesied in Judah.
The contents of the book is as follows:
1. Ch. 1 to 2:13. The closing ministry and translation of Elijah.
2. Chs. 2:14 to 8:15 & 13:14-21. The ministry of Elisha and his death.
3. Chs. 15 &16 etc. The kings of Israel and Judah from Ahaziah and Jehoram respectively.
4. Chs. 17, 24 & 25. The Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.
THE CLOSING MINISTRY AND TRANSLATION OF ELIJAH.
Ahaziah, king of Israel, through an accident became very sick and sent messengers to enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether he would recover from his disease, Ch.1. Elijah was told by God to intercept the messengers and tell them that Ahaziah would die. When the king heard it he sent fifty soldiers with their captain to bring Elijah to him. The prophet called down fire from heaven and consumed them all. A second fifty men with their captain were sent and were destroyed in the same way. A third fifty with their captain were sent. The third captain humbled himself before the prophet. The man and his company were spared and Elijah went with them to Ahaziah. He repeated the same sentence of death to the king, and he died.
In Ch. 2, we read of the translation of the great prophet. In his ministry Elijah was blessed with outstanding demonstrations of power. To the very end he walked with God and was finally caught away by a whirlwind into heaven.
THE MINISTRY OF ELISHA AND HIS DEATH.
Elisha is an outstanding character in the Word of God because of his unique ministry. He was called to be the prophet who would succeed Elijah, I Kings 19:16, 19-21. For a number of years he humbly served the prophet and finally it was revealed to him that God was going to take Elijah unto Himself, 2 Kings 2:3. In accordance with his Divine commission, Elisha knew he should receive the spiritual equipment, therefore he asked for the double portion. God honored his faith and persistence and endowed him to be the head of the sons of the prophets.
From that time forward Elisha had a miraculous ministry which is recorded in Chs. 2:14 to 8:15. This prophet was especially keen in hearing the word of the Lord, so that in a moment of time he knew what to do to meet any emergency which arose. Power over nature was manifested in increasing by the deliverance of Naaman the Syrian from leprosy. Elisha retained his power to a great age, and on his deathbed helped the king of Israel in the matter of warring with the Syrians, Ch. 13:14-19. After the prophet was dead and buried, even his bones retained the power of God, and brought a man back to life when his dead body was dropped into Elisha’s grave, vs. 20-21.
THE KINGS OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH FROM AHAZIAH AND JEHORAM, RESPECTIVELY.
Israel: Jehoram, Jehu, Jehozhaz, Jehoash, Jereboam II, Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah and Hoshea..
Judah: Azariah, Athaliah (a usurper), Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
THE ASSYRIAN AND BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITIES.
The history of Israel was one of sad backsliding. Civil war was not infrequent, and one dynasty was often displaced by another. In Ch. 17, we read that in the reign of Hoshea, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, invaded the land and made Israel a tributary state. Hoshea rebelled and sought the help of Egypt, and it finally led to a three-year siege of the land, vs. 5-23, and in 721 B.C., Israel was carried away captive to the land of Assyria. In this same chapter God gives His reason for allowing such to happen, and showed how displeased He was with their disobedience and idolatry. The king of Assyria sent people from his own land to occupy the cities of Samaria, v.24. In later years these people by inter-marrying with some of the remnant of Israel became the Samaritans, and were so know in the days of Christ.
A little over one hundred years after the Assyrian captivity, the people of Judah were warned of their sins and threatened with the Babylonian invasion. The false prophets sought to persuade them that all was well, but the Word of God came to pass. In 606 B.C., Nebuchadnezar ,king of Babylon, led Judah into captivity. Ch. 25 tells of how the famine prevailed in Jerusalem, and how the city was broken up and the temple destroyed by fire. This captivity lasted seventy years, and was a fulfillment of the Word of God through the prophet Jeremiah.
Thus ended the history of Israel and Judah until the “Times of the Gentiles” shall be fulfilled. Then God will gather His people, and their history will recommence under the ruler ship of Christ, the Son of David.