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.
As the chapter continues, we see the swift decline of the once glorious Israel. There was a tumultuous battle for the throne that caused many to kill and over throw and seize rule with 6 rulers listed in Chapter 15 alone! Eventually we see Ahaz rule over Judah and side with Assyria to destroy the Syrians, and we see Hoshea reign over Israel. Hoshea completely gave himself over to Assyria, and the foreign nation took Samaria (all the Israelite nations save for Judah) captive. The Israelites were shipped out and the Assyrians moved in.
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 18 – 21.
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 18 | Hezekiah reigns in Judah – Assyria goes after Judah – Assyria blasphemes the name of the Lord: After the wicked reign of his father, Ahaz, Hezekiah took the throne at just 25 years old. Fortunately, we see Hezekiah do much good before the Lord.
He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Ashram. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan. | 2 Kings 18:4-5
The extent of their waywardness is perfectly depicted by the bronze serpent that they clung to as an idol. The serpent was from Numbers 21, and the Israelites distorted a metaphor to the saving power of the Lord in order to worship the physical serpent before them. Praise God for people like Hezekiah, who see through the illusions and tear them down so that we may turn back to a right relationship with our Father! Hezekiah rebelled against the Assyrian empire, and he even gave them riches to persuade them to leave Judah alone after they had captured and enslaved Israel. But the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, continued his assault and sent his armies to confront Hezekiah. Although Hezekiah’s men desired to speak in Aramaic so that the people along the wall could not understand, the king’s messenger, the Rabshakeh, yelled terrible words in Hebrew for all to hear:
“Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'” | 2 Kings 18:29-30
And so the Assyrian people blatantly blasphemed the Lord and the nation of Judah, but the people did not listen or respond.
- 2 Kings 19 | Hezekiah is shocked by the words of the Assyrian messenger – Isaiah prophesies of the end of the Assyrian king – Assyria continues to defy the Lord – Assyrians in Judah are struck down by the angel of the Lord: After hearing the awful words of the Rabshakeh, Hezekiah rent his clothes and went before the Lord. Shortly after, he is encouraged by the words of the prophet Isaiah who says that the Assyrian king would soon return to his land and die by sword there. When the Rabshakeh returned to report of Hezekiah’s persistence against Assyria, the king of Assyria continued to blaspheme the Lord and exalt his own name by letter, telling Hezekiah not to let his God deceive him! Hezekiah solidified his resolve by praying before the Lord about the vile letter and exclaiming that He, alone, is God! Then as if a well oiled machine, Isaiah confirms the reception of Hezekiah’s prayer and continues to give the nation peace by way of prophesy:
“Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel!…Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins…But I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me. Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come into my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.” | 2 Kings 19:22, 25, 27-28
And the Lord promised to defend the city from the king of Assyria. That very night the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 Assyrians encamped in Judah, and the king left back to Nineveh after seeing that as prophesied. In Nineveh, as he was worshipping his own god, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was killed by his own sons with a sword as prophesied.
- 2 Kings 20 | Hezekiah is cured from fatal illness and blessed with life – Hezekiah flaunts the riches of Judah to the envoy of Babylon – Isaiah prophesies of Judah’s Babylonian captivity – Hezekiah dies: In this chapter we learn of Hezekiah’s deathly illness! The Lord himself, through Isaiah, said to the king that he would die and not recover. However, Hezekiah has yet another beautiful exchange with the Lord:
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. | 2 Kings 20:2-3
And immediately, the Lord answered his prayer and added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life! Unfortunately we read of an ominous encounter during this chapter as we know that, just like the Israelites were brought under the captivity of the Assyrians, the nation of Judah would be brought under the captivity of Babylon. When the son of the king of Babylon came to pay respects to the sick Hezekiah, the king of Judah foolishly went on to show the envoy every last bit of the riches and treasures of the nation. After his pompous display, Isaiah prophesies:
“Hear the word of the Lord. ‘Behold the time is coming when everything that is in your house, and that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.” | 2 Kings 20:16-17
At the end of the chapter we learn of Hezekiah’s death, and we see his son Manasseh become king after it.
- 2 Kings 21 | Manasseh restores the evil that Hezekiah had purged – The Lord hands the remnant over to their enemies – Amon, Manasseh’s son, becomes king of Judah – Amon continues to do evil – Amon is murdered – Josiah, his son, becomes king of Judah: After the wonderful rule of Hezekiah, we see the tainted rule of Manasseh, which really pushes the nation to a tipping point. Manasseh, did much evil: he restored the high places, set up altars to Baal, set up pagan altars in the temple of the Lord, burned his son as an offering to a false god, etc. The word and promise of the Lord is reiterated here, and it is clear that the Israelites did not live up to it in part:
“In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel. | 2 Kings 21:7-9
And that evil cause the Lord to bring about righteous judgment.
“And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.” | 2 Kings 21:14-15
And so the rule of Manasseh was marked so terribly, and after his death, his son Amon reigned in his place. Amon continued the evil of his father and abandoned the Lord. The people conspired against him and murdered him, and then those people were murdered by others in the nation. Eventually his son, Josiah, was set up to rule over the nation of Judah.