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 2 Kings…Ahaziah took the mantle of king over Israel in place of his wicked father, Ahab. He too followed in the same footsteps and we quickly see him being cursed to death for his unfaithfulness to the Lord. Eventually we come to the end of the great prophet, Elijah’s, time on earth. He is taken up into heaven, and just as promised, Elisha takes his place on earth. Elisha proceeds to prophesy and perform many miracles proving the power and authority of the Lord to all people.
We see more of the Lord’s will come to pass as Hazael takes the mantle of king over Syria and Jehu becomes king over Israel. The Lord cursed the house of Ahab and promised its ruin through the hands of Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha, and that begins through Jehu who murders Jezebel and the decedents of the house of Ahab, as prophesied. He then proceeds to assassinate Joram, king of Israel and son of Ahab, and Ahaziah, king of Judah. After their death, we just continue to see much craziness in Israel and Judah. Ahaziah’s mom, Athaliah, attempts to take the throne, but his 7-year old son assumes rule. The same cycle of old is perpetuated as there are conspiracies and wars and new kings that do evil before the Lord, but we do see some good in kings like Amaziah, descendant of David and son of Joash. The most notable event of late is the unfortunate death of Elisha, but we read of the power of God that was in his very bones.
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 15 – 17.
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 15 | Azariah (Uzziah) reigns in Judah after the capture and death of Amaziah, his father – Jotham, his son, reigns in Judah after – Zechariah, Jeroboams son, reigns in Israel – Shallum reigns in Israel – Menahem reigns in Israel – Pekahiah, Menahems son, reigns in Israel – Pekah reigns in Israel – Hosea reigns in Israel – Assyria takes the land and people of Naphtali captive: After the capture and death of his father in the previous chapter, Azariah was appointed king over Judah at the age of only 16. He reigned for 52 years and did what was right, but just like his father, he did not remove the idols/altars that the people had made. Unfortunately, he was cursed to live as a leper until he died. After the death of Azariah also known as Uzziah, Jotham, his son, became king over Judah. He also did what was right before the Lord sans taking away the high places, just as his father did. Meanwhile in Israel, craziness and much evil was running free! After Jeroboam II reigned, his son Zechariah, reigned, but a man named Shallum killed him and reigned in his stead. Then Menahem killed Shallum and reigned, and his son, Pekahiah, reigned after him. Then Pekah conspired against Pekahiah, and he killed him and reigned in his place. Then Hoshea conspired against Pekah, killed him, and took the throne. During all this internal turmoil, the Assyrians warred against Israel and captured/enslaved a portion of the people and captured much land. There were 6 kings in Israel in the span of the 2 kings of Judah, and this turmoil marks the beginning of the Israelites’ downfall, and subsequently, the downfall of Judah. In Jotham’s days, the Lord set both Syria and Israel, Pekah, against Judah, and after his death, Ahaz, his son, reigned over Judah.
- 2 Kings 16 | Ahaz reigns in Judah – Ahaz sides with Assyria to defeat Syria and Judah – Ahaz falls to the idols of Syria: Ahaz was not like his father and grandfather as he did much evil before the Lord. Chapter 16 clearly notes that “he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel.” As if that was not evil enough, we learn that he sacrificed his own son just as the wicked king of Moab did in 2 Kings 3. Ahaz really marks a swift downfall of the kingdom of Judah. As Syria and Israel rose up against him, he allied with the king of Assyria, who had taken people of Israel captive, and he paid the king from the gold in the house of the Lord. Assyria conquered the Syrian capital of Damascus and killed the Syrian king, Rezin. Unfortunately, Ahaz saw the altar that was in Damascus and is most definitely enticed by it. He sends the exact pattern and details to Uriah, the priest, and they construct this altar and place it in stead of the altar that was before the Lord’s temple. As if that was not enough, Ahaz continued to affront the temple by breaking portions of it down and catering to the king of Assyria. After his death, Hezekiah, his son, reigned in his place.
- 2 Kings 17 | Hoshea reigns in Israel – Hoshea serves Assyria – Assyria captures Samaria -Israel is taken captive by Assyria: After seizing the throne from Pekah, Hoshea reigned in Israel, but his reign was under the authority of the Assyrian king. Eventually, the Assyrian king found deceit in Hoshea, locked him up, and mounted an all out assault on Israel. The entire nation of Israel fell to Assyria. The people were captured and marched out to Assyria, and the land of Samaria was taken over by the Assyrians.
And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who 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 customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watch tower to fortified city. | 2 Kings 17:7-9
What they had done “secretly” was no secret at all. The Lord constantly sent messengers and prophets to speak truth to the people; to tell them to turn from their wicked ways and back to the Lord. But the stubborn Israelites would not listen, and their sin provoked the Lord to anger. The Lord removed Israel, save the tribe of Judah, and he gave them over to the Assyrians to live in exile. At the end of the chapter the Assyrians moved into the land of Samaria. After being attacked by lions because they encroached on the “promised land” without knowing the commandments of the Lord, they attempt to bring in priests to teach the people. Unfortunately, they continued in their evil ways, worshipping false gods and even sacrificing their own children. Interestingly, though, we see this:
They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. So they feared the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. | 2 Kings 17:32-33
So the nation of Assyria lived just as the nation of Israel did, which could maybe be best understood as a shallow fear of the Lord rather that utmost reverence for the King.