Bible Book Summary
2 Kings Summary
by Jay Smith
The book of 2nd Kings is Narrative History and Prophecy concerning the affairs of the divided kingdoms. The author is anonymous; however, some suggest the prophet Jeremiah. It was written about 560-538 B.C. Key personalities are many; they include Elijah, Elisha, the woman from Shunem, Naaman, Jezebel, Jehu, Joash, Hezekiah, Sennacherib, Isaiah, Manasseh, Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Nebuchadnezzar. Its purpose was to demonstrate the value of those who obey God, and the fate of those who refuse to obey and make Him ultimate ruler.
In this book, God performs amazing miracles through his prophets as He sends these messengers to herald His messages. The two kingdoms are far from the Lord and lost in the monotonous confusion of their sins. God’s prophets bring the only hope to this lost yet, chosen nation.
• In chapters 1-17, we read of the rulers of the divided kingdoms who lead them to their fate in exile. The prophet Elijah concludes his ministry and hands over the reins to another up and coming prophet who God will use named Elisha. Elisha is an apprentice of sorts, and follows Elijah as he follows God’s lead. God took Elijah in a whirlwind to heaven and the apprentice asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and it was granted to him (2:9). In Elisha’s ministry, he carries out twice as many miracles, as Elijah, as God does His will through his prophet. We also find in these chapters, details about kings and dynasties, which ultimately disobey and ignore God’s orders and provisions. Finally, during the reign of the last evil king, Hoshea, the Assyrians take the Northern Kingdom into captivity. They have neglected the warning and coming judgment announced by the prophet Hosea. It is fitting that the more evil of the two kingdoms (Northern Kingdom) is the kingdom that goes into permanent captivity. There is no record or evidence of these 10 tribes of Israel ever returning from exile.
• In chapters 18-25, it is apparent that the Southern Kingdom is not doing much better, and soon would also face God’s judgment. “Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophetsHowever, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God” (17:13-14).