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- 2 Kings
by Thomas Constable
Second Kings continues the narrative begun in 1 Kings. It opens with the translation of godly Elijah to heaven and closes with the transportation of the ungodly Jews to Babylon. For discussion of title, writer, date, scope, purpose, genre, style, and theology of 2 Kings, see the introductory section in my notes on 1 Kings.
(Continued from notes on 1 Kings)
3. Ahaziah’s evil reign in Israel 1Ki_22:51 -2Ki_1:18 (continued)
15. Ahaz’s evil reign in Judah ch. 16
III. The surviving kingdom chs. 18-25
A. Hezekiah’s good reign chs. 18-20
The Books of Kings teach that failure to honor the revealed will of God always brings ruin and destruction. The writer traced this theme through the 411-year monarchy, from Solomon to the Babylonian Captivity. He did so both in the national affairs of Israel and Judah and in the lives of representative individuals, notably the kings.
"The entire history of the monarchy in Israel hinges on the word of the Lord. Having established the basis of his covenant relationship with David, God faithfully demonstrates the veracity of his word. From the first chastisement against Solomon to the ultimate deportation of the nation, God’s word of the covenant controls history." [Note: O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, p. 266.]
The United Kingdom of Israel attained its largest extent geographically, as well as its greatest influence, under Solomon. However, it ended in discord and ruin because of Solomon’s failure to honor the Mosaic Covenant faithfully.
In the period of the Divided Kingdom, the writer evaluated each king by his allegiance to that covenant. He showed that Yahweh either blessed him for his fidelity, or cursed him for his infidelity to it. Also the writer opened windows into the lives of the ordinary citizens. God dealt with them as He did the kings. He consistently applied these principles to the common people’s lives as well as the kings’ reigns. As the people departed from God, He raised up His servants the prophets to call them back to trust and obedience.
In the history of the Surviving Kingdom, the writer emphasized that ultimately, deportation (unrest) and captivity (enslavement) are the inevitable consequences of persistent departure from God and His will.
The church operates under a different covenant than Israel did, and what God requires of us is different in many respects from what He required of the Israelites. Nevertheless, He still deals with us in the same way He dealt with Israel. He blesses those who trust and obey Him, and He disciplines those who do not (cf. Rom_11:21-22). God has preserved the Books of Kings to teach us how consistently He deals with people on this basis.
"What does the writer tell the reader? Trust the Lord and find hope in him. If God can give the land once, God can give it again. If the Lord can raise up one David, another can come to take his ancestor’s place. If people could be faithful in Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s reigns, then they can be obedient again." [Note: House, p. 402.]
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the Fifth Week after Epiphany