By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 1 Kings…We saw the end of King David’s reign and the tumultuous grab for power. Adonijah attempts to seize the kingdom, but Nathan and Bathsheba secure that title for Solomon. After David’s death, Solomon assumes the position of anointed King over all Israel, and He serves the Lord with his whole heart. However, we see glimpses of his folly as he attempts to unite kingdoms with the pagan Egyptians by marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter.
For his faithfulness the Lord blesses Solomon with wisdom that rivaled any other person on earth and Solomon, in his wisdom, constructs the first permanent temple for the Lord. Finally, the ark is moved to its home.
Unfortunately, we see Solomon turn away from the Lord because of the many wives and concubines that he took for himself, and because of his unfaithfulness, 10 of the 12 tribes are stripped from the h0use of David and given to Jeroboam. Because of David’s faithfulness, Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was able to rule over Judah. Both Rehoboam (Judah) and Jeroboam (Israel) did evil in the sight of the Lord, and Jeroboam is eventually cursed and dies with the promise that his lineage would not rule over Israel forever.
After a long time of failing with many different Kings, we come to the reign of Ahab over Israel, and Ahab did more evil than all that were before him. Elijah the prophet proves to all that the Lord is God and that Baal is nothing in spectacular fashion through consuming fire from heaven, which the prophets of Baal could not conjure. This causes a glimpse of hope in the people as they immediately destroy the many prophets of Baal. Unfortunately Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, continue to do evil in Israel. They are both cursed to die and Ahab’s line is cursed to destruction. Eventually we see Ahab repent before his death in 1 Kings, and we are left with his son Ahaziah as king over Israel and Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, as king of Judah.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 2 Kings 1 – 5.
2 KINGS – Following the aftermath of the evil king, Ahab, and his evil wife, Jezebel, 2 Kings begins with the final days of Elijah. Elijah is eventually taken up to heaven and Elisha takes his place, as prophesied in 1 Kings. We then see much of what Elijah prophesied come to pass.
As prophesied, Elisha serves the Lord mightily after Elijah. As prophesied, Ahab and his line are completely destroyed. As prophesied, Jezebel is killed and eaten by dogs. As prophesied, Hazael takes the mantel of Syrian king. As prophesied, Jehu is appointed over Israel.
We see so much come to fruition and despite all the evil that persists among the people, we still see hope through many good rulers and deeds from people such as Elisha, King Hezekiah, King Jotham, King Josiah, and even people outside of the Kingdom of Israel like Naaman, the Syrian general.
As a whole, the reign of the Kings of Israel and Judah are continued in this book, but we see the steady downfall of both kingdoms. Eventually the divided nation comes to a tipping point, and we see the complete fall of both. We see Israel fall to the Assyrian empire, and shortly after, we see Judah fall to the Babylonian empire. Through it all though, we continue to see the faithfulness, mercy, and judgement of the Lord.
- 2 Kings 1 | Ahaziah, son of Ahab, rules over Israel – Ahaziah is cursed to death by Elijah because he sought the council of Baal; Jehoram, son of Ahab, reigns over Israel: After the death of Ahab, Ahaziah, his son, ruled in his place. In the first chapter we see the Moabites respond to Ahab’s death by again rebelling against Israel. We read more about the rebellion of Moab later, but this chapter moves on to the King Ahaziah, who fell from his chamber and was injured/bed-ridden. Ahaziah clearly followed in the footsteps of his father and mother because he sent messengers to seek the council of the prophets of Baal regarding the outcome of his injury instead of the Lord. The Lord spurred on Elisha to intercept those messengers and relay a message to the king:
Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus says the Lord, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die… | 2 Kings 1:3-4
When the messengers returned and relayed the message to Ahaziah, the King sent 50 men who demanded Elijah come with them, but Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume them. The king sent another set of 50 men, and again fire was called from heaven. The king again sent another set of 50 men, but the third captain fell to the ground before Elijah and pleaded for the life of his men. Elijah followed this man to the King and relayed the same message to Ahaziah. So, Ahaziah died of his injuries, and his brother Jehoram reigned in his place.
- 2 Kings 2 | Elijah is called up to heaven – Elisha takes his place – Elisha begins to preform much good: In this chapter we finally reach the end of Elijah’s time on earth. Elisha served his time with Elijah with no reservation, and in 2 Kings 2, we see just how resolved he was to answer the Lord’s call. Many times in the last moments of Elijah’s time, he asked Elisha to stay behind, but Elisha always responded, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” Eventually the pair arrive at the final moment, which both wonderfully portrays the awesome life of Elijah, who did not die but was swept up into heaven, and also the heart of Elisha who wanted nothing but the Spirit of the Lord:
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him… | 2 Kings 2:9-13
So Elisha was blessed with the Spirit of Elijah and he immediately went on to preform miraculous deeds. The prophets even sensed the spirit on Elisha, and after they could find Elijah nowhere, they served Elisha. He parted the Jordan river and walked across just as Elijah did when they arrived. He healed the tainted water of the city, and even his righteous cursing of boys that mocked him caused two bears to kill them! So even nature itself was under his subjection by the Spirit.
- 2 Kings 3 | Moab rebels after Ahab’s death – Jehoram and Jehoshaphat march against Moab – Elisha promises victory – The Moabites are defeated: In this chapter we continue to see the work of Elisha and we read of the rebellion of Moab in much more detail. Jehoram requested the aid of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah son of Asa who did good before the Lord, to deal with the Moabites, and Jehoshaphat came to his aid. As they marched to war, they eventually reached a point in which they had no water and the king of Israel quickly lost faith, but Jehoshaphat pushed them to seek out the words of Elisha. Elisha had no respect for Jehoram, but because of Jehoshaphat he prophesied of the streams filled with water for the men and animals and victory over all of Moab. And so the Israelites struck down the Moabites with great force and they overthrew their cities just as Elisha had prophesied. Eventually with nothing left, the king of Moab burned his oldest son, his heir, alive as an offering, and the Israelites were sickened by the act so they withdrew from him.
- 2 Kings 4 | Elisha preforms many miracles – He blesses a widow with never ending oil – He blesses a barren Shunammite women with a son – He raises that son from the dead – He cleanses a stew of poison – He multiplies food to feed many: Elisha continued to flex his spiritual muscles by prophesying and performing many miracles. Chapter 4 chronicles 4 of those miraculous deeds. First we read of a widow who feared the Lord. A creditor came to take her 2 sons away as slaves as payment for debts owed and she sought Elisha’s help. He asked what she had and she had nothing except a jar of oil. He sent her on her way and told her to fill every vessel she could find with the oil from that jar, and she filled many vessels. She filled enough to pay her debts and have more, proving that the Lord can and will use anything to bless us and bring glory to his name. Then we read of a Shunammite woman who offered her house to Elisha whenever he passed by. She even felt the need to build a small room on the roof of their home for Elisha so that he could eat and rest every time he visited. As a blessing, the Lord prophesied through Elisha that she would have a son, which she did not have. The son was born as promised, but he became ill and died. Elisha then came to the home of the woman and husband and he raised the son from the dead! As if endless jars of oil and raising people from death were not enough, Elisha also cleanses a stew made with poisonous wild vines, and he feeds a hundred men with only 20 loaves of bread.
- 2 Kings 5 | Elisha cures Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, of his leprosy – Elisha rejects Naaman’s gifts, but accepts his sacrifice for the Lord – Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, is cursed for chasing after Naaman to receive the gifts: In chapter 5, we get to see many great things. First and foremost, we see the Lord’s blessing on a man of Syria. We continue to see the great work of the Lord through Elisha. We again see just how much the king of Israel has departed from the Lord, and, through Gehazi, we see that the Lord does not hold back judgement on his people. Naaman, a general in the Syrian army, is described in 2 Kings 5 as a great man of valor who “by him the Lord had given victory to Syria.” Unfortunately, he was also a leper. Naaman heard of the prophet Elisha by an Israelite captive in his household, and he set out with a letter from the king of Syria to find him.
Unfortunately, when Naaman went before the king of Israel and presented his case, he was scoffed at. The king of Israel thought it was foolishness that a man could be cured of leprosy (he had no faith in the Lord), but Elisha sent for Naaman to prove that the Lord was real in Israel. When Naaman arrives at Elisha’s, he is told to dip himself in the Jordan 7 times to be healed completely. His response is so interesting, because although Elisha offered to heal him completely by simply washing himself in the Jordan, Naaman responds in anger! His servants have to make it clear to him that Elisha is offering a GREAT thing! He goes to the Jordan, and he is completely healed. This portion is awesome because we se the Lord show great kindness to Naaman, who is not part of the holy nation of Israel. Naaman returns to give wealth and riches to Elisha, but the gifts are rejected. However, he vows to devote his worship to the Lord, and Elisha sends him off in peace. Unfortunately, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, coveted the riches Naaman offered and chased after him to get gold and silver. Because of his greed, Gehazi and his descendants are punished with the leprosy of Naaman forever! We clearly see that the Lord’s kindness is not limited to his people, and in fact, that kindness causes all to worship and glorify Him! We also see that He does not hold back judgement for those who sin, such as Gehazi.