The second book of Kings is a follow up to the first book of Kings. Originally this was one book. Thus most people believe that it was the same author who wrote both of these books, 1 and 2 Kings. 2 Kings used some of the same sources, the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah” and the “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Despite the fact that this book was called “kings,” there was quite a lot about the prophet Elisha, who was a disciple of Elijah, and his relationship to the kings. This 2 Kings followed the exploits of the kings in Israel and Judah. This book ended with the capture and destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the leaders in Judah. Earlier in this book of 2 Kings, the Assyrians captured Samaria and transported the people out of Israel. Then the final conclusion was the Babylonian defeat of Judah and Jerusalem with the deportation of the people to Babylon. Thus this is not a book with a happy ending. Throughout this book we see the history of the kings of Israel and Judah as each king was mentioned.
2 Kings started out with the prophet Elijah and King Ahaziah of Israel. Elijah kept burning up the men that King Ahaziah sent to bring him back to the king, until finally the last group was successful. Then the two prophets Elijah and Elisha went to Bethel, Jericho, and the Jordan River as Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot. The prophet Elisha picked up the mantel of Elijah as they searched in vain for Elijah. The prophet Elisha then performed a few miracles.
During the reign of King Jehoram in Israel, there was a revolt of King Mesha of Moab. King Jehoshaphat of Judah joined King Jehoram against Moab. They picked up the king of Edom as these three kings set out, despite a lack of water. In order to get help they decided to consult with the prophet Elisha. Meanwhile, the people of Moab thought that the three kings had attacked each other so they simply came to loot their camp. However, the Moabites suffered a bad defeat when the three kings were still there willing to fight.
The prophet Elisha continued to perform miracles with a widow and the never ending oil. He also had a second home at Shumen, where a Shunammite woman was very kind to him. When her son died, Elisha came and restored her dead son. Elisha made a bad poisonous stew good as well as multiplied barley loaves. He even cured Naaman, the commander of the Aramean forces, who had leprosy. However, his servant Gehazi tried to get money for this cure so that he ended up with the leprosy himself.
The prophet Elisha warned the king of Israel that the Arameans were coming. Somehow Elisha knew their plans, so the Arameans went after Elisha. However, Elisha had Yahweh strike them blind. He then led the blind Arameans to Samaria where they were captured but were treated fairly well.
Meanwhile there was a siege and famine in Samaria so that some of the people resorted to cannibalism. The king was mad at the prophet Elisha since he blamed Elisha for the famine. However, Elisha announced the imminent end of the crisis. Four lepers discovered that the Aramean camp had been abandoned because Yahweh made them think that a great army was attacking them. The four lepers told the king, but he was skeptical about the deserted Aramean camp. Finally, the Israelites plundered the abandoned Aramean camp. The Shunammite woman and her son had avoided the famine by going to a different country. However, when she returned, the king helped the Shunammite woman and her son. The prophet Elisha went to Damascus where he met Hazael who then killed King Ben-hadad and became king himself.
Then King Ahaziah in Judah went to war with King Hazael of Aram. The prophet Elisha sent a disciple to anoint Jehu the new king. King Jehu then murdered King Jehoram of Israel in the Naboth vineyard, King Ahaziah of Judah, and the Queen mother Jezebel. King Jehu sent letters to the seventy sons of King Ahab. He then asked for their heads so this led to a complete massacre of the royal family of Israel and Judah. Thus the complete family of King Ahab was wiped out. King Jehu then assembled all the Baal believers for a great worship service, where he massacred them also. However, King Jehu was not perfect as he lost some territories.
Queen Athaliah tried to destroy the royal family, but the people crowned her hidden grandson Joash as the king in Judah. Then she was killed as they destroyed the temple of Baal. As king, King Joash wanted money to repair the temple. Then King Joash sent gifts to King Hazael before he defeated the new king of the Arameans. Finally, Elisha the prophet died after his last request with a prophecy and a miracle.
King Amaziah in Judah killed the murders of his father. He also killed the Edomites. He had a war of words King Joash of Israel so that Israel defeated Judah. Under King Jeroboam II in Israel, there was a restoration of the Israelite territory. King Azariah in Judah was the leper king with his son Jotham. Meanwhile there were a series of three kings in Israel as they each killed each other. Finally King Menahem in Israel paid off the king of Assyria. However, the king of Assyria attacked King Pekah in Israel. Hoshea revolted and then became King Hoshea. King Ahaz in Judah withstood the siege of Jerusalem and made a treaty with Assyria. He even had an altar built in Jerusalem based on one he saw in Damascus, as he removed things from the temple in Jerusalem.
During the reign of King Hoshea in Israel, Samaria was taken by the Assyrians in 724 BCE. Of course, this was due to the evils of the people in the Israelite kingdom, as they did not follow the prophets and commandments of Yahweh. Thus they were wiped out. The leaders were taken into captivity in Assyria. This led to the repopulation of Israel and the introduction of foreign gods into Samaria. The origins of the Samaritans can be traced back to these foreigners in Samaria intermarrying with the poor people who stayed behind.
The Kingdom of Judah was to last about a hundred and forty years longer. The good King Hezekiah of Judah withstood the invasion of King Sennacherib of Assyria, who had taken over Israel in the north. A number of officials met in Jerusalem where they were warned about making treaties with Egypt. King Hezekiah sent his advisors to the prophet Isaiah, who told them to stand firm. King Sennacherib sent a letter to King Hezekiah, who then prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh responded that the king of Assyria would not attack Jerusalem. Yahweh instead killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers as King Sennacherib also died.
The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he was going to die, but then reversed himself as he healed King Hezekiah. Meanwhile, the ambassadors of Merodach came to King Hezekiah who showed them everything about Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah was upset at King Hezekiah for doing this and predicted the downfall of Jerusalem to Babylon. Eventually King Hezekiah died.
Following King Hezekiah were two bad kings. King Manasseh ruled for forty-five years. During his time, he desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. Yahweh was not happy about this. Eventually King Manasseh died and King Amon ruled Judah for two years.
Then the good King Josiah led a religious reform in Judah for over thirty years as he made repairs to the temple. During these repairs, they discovered the book or scroll of the law. They read this book and consulted with the prophetess Huldah. She told them to have a solemn reading of the law with a covenant renewal. Thus there was a religious reform at the temple, the house of Yahweh. They destroyed all the high places in Judah and the foreign god’s worship places. They even went north to Bethel to destroy the altar and tombs there and also the high places throughout Samaria. Then they held a public celebration of the Passover as they concluded the year of religious reform. Despite all this reform of King Josiah, the Day of Judgment for Judah was coming as King Josiah died.
King Jehoahaz, his son ruled for only a year. His brother King Jehoiakim in Judah then ruled for ten years as the invasion of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took place. King Jehoiakim died, as the extensive kingdom of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem and the first deportation to Babylon took place. The Babylonian king named King Zedekiah as king in Judah until finally Jerusalem was captured and destroyed. The Babylonians took all the valuable things from the temple and killed all the leaders of Judah at Riblah. King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah as the governor of Judah, but a revolt by Ishmael put an end to that. Meanwhile King Jehoiachin lived in exile under pleasant circumstances. So the end of Israel and Judah was complete as the Exiles of the eighth and sixth centuries BCE were in full swing.