2 Kings – Chapter 17

2 Kings Chapter 17

Verses 1-6 – This was the third and final invasion of Assyria into Israel. The people of Israel should have learned to turn back to God the first two invasions. However, they didn’t. God allowed Assyria to invade again, carrying off captives from the northern border. But Israel never realized they had caused this. Thus Assyria invaded a third time, destroying Israel completely, carrying away most of the people, and resettling the land with foreigners.

Verses 7-17 – God was doing what He said He would do in Deuteronomy 28. He had given Israel ample warning. They knew what would come, but they still ignored God. Israel was no better off than the pagan nations it had destroyed in the days of Joshua. Israel was chosen by God to be a light to the world and to show Him honor. The Lord judged the people of Israel because they copied the evil customs of the surrounding nations. They followed their own ways which created selfish desires. To live to yourself as Israel did brings serious consequences from God (Romans 12:1, 2). Divination means witchcraft, and sorcery is consulting evil spirits. Different forms of witchcraft, fortune-telling, and black magic were and still are forbidden by God (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). They are wrong because they seek power and guidance totally apart from God, His law, and His Word. Isaiah gives a warning for these practices and the destruction that comes to those who practice it (Isaiah 8:19-22).

Verse 9 – Secret sins are the ones we don’t want others to know about because they are embarrassing or incriminating. Sins done in private are not a secret to God, and secret defiance of Him is just as damaging as open rebellion.

Verses 13-15 – The people took on the characteristics of the idols and imitated the godless nation around them. Israel had forgotten the important benefits of obeying God’s Word. Time and again God had sent prophets to warn them of how far they had turned away from Him and to call them to turn back.

Verse 16 – All the “host of heaven” and starry host” refers to the Canaanite practice of worshiping the sun, moon, and constellations. These were Assyrian gods that were being added to their religion.

Verses 23 – Israel was taken into exile just as God’s p prophets had warned. Both the promises and warnings God has given in His Word do come true.

Verse 24 – The mixture of people resettled in Israel came to be known as Samaritans. They were despised by  the Jews, even through the time of Christ (John 4:9).

Verses 27-29 – The new settlers in Israel worshiped God without giving up their pagan customs. They treated God like a good luck charm or another idol to add to their collection. There’s a similar attitude today. Many people claim to believe in God while refusing to give up attitudes and actions that God denounces. God is not an add-on to our wrong thinking. He must come first and  His Word shapes our attitudes and actions.

Verses 29-31 – When Israel was first commanded by God to conquer the land, the Israelites were supposed to utterly destroy all the pagan influences that could draw them away from the One True God. Their failure to do this brought their ruin.

 

2 Kings – Chapter 16

2 Kings chapter 16

Verses 2-4 – Ahaz was the first bad king of Judah in about 100 years. Ahaz was so depraved that he sacrificed his own son to the pagan gods. This was a practice of the Canaanites whom the Israelites were supposed to drive out of the land.

Verse 5 – Israel and Aram were both under Assyria’s  control. They joined forces against Judah, hoping to force the southern kingdom to join their revolt against Assyria and strengthen their western alliance. However, the plan backfired when King Ahaz of Judah unexpectedly asked Assyria to come to  his aid.

Verse 10 – Ahaz went to Damascus to express gratitude, but relying more on money than on God to keep the powerful king out of his land, his plan failed. Ahaz eventually regretted asking for his help.

Verses 10-16 – King Ahaz copied pagan religious customs, changed the temple services, and used the temple altar for his personal benefit. Some today do the same thing Ahaz did; they try to mold God’s message to fit their own personal preferences.

Verses 14-18 – Ahaz replaced the altar of burnt offering with a replica of the pagan altar he had seen in Damascus. This was extremely serious because God had given specific directions on how the altar should look and be used (Exodus 27:1-8). Building this new altar was like installing an idol. Sadly, Ahaz allowed the King of Assyria to replace God as Judah’s leader.

Verse 18 – Not only had Ahaz become a weak king, so had the high priest. Judah’s religious system was in shambles. If we are quick to copy others in order to please those in power, then we are placing them in a position above God. The significance of removing the Sabbath canopy and closing the special entrance for the king is not clear.

2 Kings – Chapter 15

2 Kings chapter 15

Verse 1 – Azariah was also known as Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26). Azariah’s devotion to God helped Judah enjoy peace and prosperity such as it had not experienced since the days of Solomon.

Verse 4 – Although Azariah accomplished a great deal, he failed to destroy the high places just as his father, Amaziah and grandfather Joash had failed to do.

Verse 5 – In one version of the Bible, it says the Lord struck Azariah with leprosy. In another, it says a skin disease. Either way, he was separated from others. Not until you read 2 Chronicles 26:16-19 will you see the cause for this and then we still don’t know for sure. Evidently, Azariah had become arrogant and performed a task that only the priests were allowed to do.

Verse – 8 – Zechariah was an evil king because he encouraged Israel to worship idols. Beware of causing others to sin. The consequences of our actions do affect those around us.

Verse 10 – Jehu’s dynasty was the longest of the northern dynasties. Shallum’s revolution was, formally, part of the record of Zechariah since it told of how Zechariah’s reign ended. The prophet Amos in Amos 7 spoke of this.

Verse13-16 – Shallum’s reign was short-lived–one month. Menahem had his own revolution going on and assassinated Shallum. Ancient historical documents say that Menahem was the commander-in-chief of Jeroboam’s army. This man was a big major evil. He ripped open the pregnant women when he ran-sacked Tiphsah.

Verse 18 – Leaders profoundly affect the people they serve. They can either encourage or discourage devotion to God by their example of how they live. Good leaders do not put up obstacles to faith in God or to right living.

Verses 19, 20 – King Pul of Assyria is also called Tiglath-Pileser in chapter 15 verse 29. The Assyrian empire was becoming a world power, and the nations Aram, Israel, and Judah were in decline. This was the first of three Assyrian invasions.

Verses 23-26 – Pekahiah, son of Menahem only reigns two years before he is assassinated. The leader of this next revolution is Pekah and then he makes himself king. Israel has run a-muck.

Verses 27, 28 – Pekah reigns twenty years, doing evil in the sight of the Lord. However, there is a storm, brooding with the Assyrian king wanting to invade Israel again.

Verse 30 – Hoshea was Israel’s last king.

Verse 32 – A year after Pekah became king, Uzziah (also called Azariah) of Judah died, and Isaiah the prophet had a vision of God’s holiness and Israel’s future destruction (Isaiah 6).

Verses 34, 35 – Much good can be said about Jotham’s reign over Judah. However, he didn’t destroy the high places, which had been commanded to be destroyed in Exodus 20:3. A true follower of God considers all his ways according to God’s precepts.

2 Kings – Chapter 14

2 kings chapter 14

Verses 3, 4 – These high places were probably used for illegal worship of Yahweh rather than pagan gods and they were not shut down.
Verses 5, 6 – Amaziah obeyed the law when he punished his father’s assassins since he did not also kill their children.
Verse 7 – Sela was the ancient stronghold of Petra, a city carved into a rock cliff. It was not only a stronghold for Edom, but also a wealthy outpost for trade with India.
Verses 9, 10 – King Amaziah of Judah had become proud after defeating the Edomites. He was trying to pick a fight with Israel because he was sure his army was stronger. Jehoash tried to warn Amaziah not to attack by comparing his army to a thistle and Israel’s army to a cedar tree. Amaziah had overrated his strength; his ambition was greater than his ability. He didn’t listen and was soundly defeated.
Verse 13 – A broken-down city wall disgraced the citizens and left them defenseless against future invasions.
Verse 25 – During this period of history, many prophets-such as Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, and Isaiah, began collecting their prophecies and writing them under God’s direction. God would use Israel’s moral and spiritual decline to prepare the way for the Messiah’s coming.
Verse 28 – Jeroboam II had no devotion to God, yet under his policies and administration Israel enjoyed more national power and material prosperity than any time since the days of Solomon. The prophets Amos and Hosea however, tell us what was really happening within the kingdom (Hosea 13:4-8; Amos 6:11-14). Jeroboam’s administration ignored policies of justice and fairness. As a result, the rich became richer, and the poor became poorer. The people became self-centered. The poor were so oppressed that it was hard for them to believe God noticed or cared. Some think that material prosperity is an indication of God’s blessing. If this were true, then does this mean the poor are cursed—I think not!

2 Kings – Chapter 13

2 kings chapter 13

Verses 4-6 – The Lord heard Jehoahaz’s prayer for help so God delayed judgment on Israel. Although there were breaks in their idol worship, there was rarely evidence of genuine faith. An occasional call for help is not a substitute for a daily life of trust in God.
Verses 5 – Aram, which lay to the north of Israel, was always Israel’s enemy. Israel and Aram were so busy fighting each other that they didn’t notice the rapidly growing strength of the Assyrians to the far north.
Verses 9, 10 – Jehoash assumed the throne of Israel in 798 B.C. At that time, the king of Juda, Joash was nearing the end of his reign. In Hebrew, Jehoash and Joash were two forms of the same name. Thus two kings named with the same name, one in the south and one in the north, reigned at the same time.
Verse 14 – At least 43 years had passed since Elisha was last mentioned in Scripture (9:1), when he anointed Jehu king (841 B.C.). Jehoash’s reign began in 798 B.C. Jehoash feared Elisha’s death because he ascribed the nation’s well being to Elisha rather than to God. Jehoash’s fear revealed his lack of spiritual understanding.
Verses 15-19 – When Jehoash was told to strike the ground with the arrows, he did it halfheartedly. As a result, Elisha told the king that his victory over Aram would not be complete.
Verses 20, 21 – Elisha was dead, but his good influence remained. This demonstrated that Elisha was indeed a prophet of God. This miracle served as one more reminder to Israel that it had rejected God’s word given through Elisha.
Verses 22, 23 – God in His mercy kept this promise to deliver the Israelites from Aram. Though this came through a wicked king, the reason for this mercy was God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

2 Kings – Chapter 12

2 Kings chapter 12

Verses 1, 2 – Joash, (Johoash) became king at 7 years of age and reigned 40 years. The Bible records he did what was right in the sight of the Lord as long as Jehoiada, the high priest, instructed him.
Verses 4, 5 – The temple was in bad need of repair because it had been neglected and damaged by previous evil leaders, especially Athaliah (2 Chronicles 24:7). This neglected condition of the temple revealed how far the people had strayed from God.
Verses 6-8 – By the twenty-third year of King Joash, the priests had not done what had been designated with the money collected. The priests were supposed to be in charge of directing and paying the workmen. By the king’s order, the money was directly placed into the hands of the workers.
Verses 13-15 – These overseers were so honest that no accounting was necessary.
Verse 15 – What a contrast between the workmen who needed no accountability of the use of money, and the priests who were in charge for twenty-three years. As trained men of God, the Levites should have done better. Though the priests were not dishonest, they just didn’t have the commitment needed for this task.
Verse 20 – The reasons for the official’s plot against Joash are listed in 2 Chronicles 24:17-26. Joash had begun to worship idols; had killed the prophet Zechariah, and had been conquered by the Arameans. When Joash turned away from God, his life began to unravel. The officials didn’t kill Joash because he turned from God; they killed him because his kingdom was out of control. In the end, Joash became evil and was killed by evil men.

2 Kings – Chapter 11

2 Kings chapter 11

Verse 1 – This story is continued from 9:27, where Jehu had killed Ahaziah, Athaliah’s son. Athaliah’s attempt to kill all of Ahaziah’s sons was futile because God had promised that the Messiah would be born through David’s descendants (2 Samuel &).
Verses 2, 3 – Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. The temple was the only practical place to hide the baby since Athaliah, who loved idolatry, would have no interest of going to the temple.
Verse 4 – The Carites were mercenary troop’s possible associated with the Philistines.
Verses 5-9 – Jehoiada gathered his forces and executed the palace coup. The units involved in these preparations were placed in position for protecting the young Davidic heir.
Verses 10, 11 – These weapons dated back to King David’s time. Once again, the Levites and others loyal to Yahweh played a crucial role in preserving the faith.
Verses 14-16 – The word pillar may designate a traditional place where the king was publicly recognized or perhaps the covenant renewed. (Six years had passed since the child had been taken to the temple.) Instead of Athaliah withdrawing when she heard the noise at the temple, she tried to halt the ceremony. She was removed and executed.
Verse 17 – This covenant, however, had virtually been ignored for over 100 years. Unfortunately, it would be ignored again after Jehoiada’s death. The nation not only chose a new king they renewed their relationship with God.
Verse 18 – A natural step for obedience to the covenant was the destruction of the temple of Baal and killing the priest of Baal.
Verse 21 – Joash became king at seven years old. Although it’s not spelled out in scripture, who was really ruling? Maybe it was Joash’ mother, advisers, and Jehoiada the high priest.

2 Kings – Chapter 10

2Kings chapter 10

Verses 1-7 – Having many wives and children were seen as one of the prerogatives of power. Ahab’s sons and grandsons were apparently distributed among the noble families to relieve the royal treasury and to provide loyal sets of eyes and ears in the homes where they lived. This fulfilled Elijah’s prophecy that not one of Ahab’s male descendants would survive (1 Kings 21:17-24).
Verse 11 – In his zeal, Jehu went far beyond the Lords command with this bloodbath. It sounds like he liked killing. The prophet Hosea later announced punishment upon Jehu’s dynasty for his senseless slaughter (Hosea 1:4, 5). Many times down through history, so-called “religious people” go beyond what God has called them to do, with personal ambition and cruelty. They take judgment of others upon themselves to execute. They have neither God’s consent nor blessing.
Verses 13, 14 – These verses report even more unnecessary slaughter of the southern royal family.
Verses 15, 16 – Jehu aligned himself with a man who separated himself and his family from materialistic, idol-worshiping culture. Jehonadab founded a group called the Racabites, who strove to keep their lives pure by living apart from society’s pressures and temptations. Jeremiah 35 gives us an example of their dedication to God. Because of their dedication, God promised that they would always have descendants who would worship him.
Verses 18, 19 – Jehu used deception to lure the priests of Baal to their deaths.
Verses 20-22 – Then Jehu told them to bring out all the consecrated garments for the priests of Baal.
Verse 24 – Israel was supposed to be intolerant of any religion that did not worship the true God. Israel had been chosen to be an example to the other nations of what was right, but had not done so.
Verses 25-27 – Jehu killed the priests of Baal and polluted their holy site with their corpses. Then the temple of Baal was torn down. The final and deepest insult to the Baalist holy place was to turn it into a latrine.
Verses 28-31 – Jehu eliminated the worship of Baal but not the golden calves in Bethel and Dan. If Jehu had destroyed the golden calves, his people would have traveled to the temple in Jerusalem, in the rival southern kingdom, and worshiped there. Jehu did most of what the Lord told him, but he did not obey Him with all his heart. He had become God’s instrument for carrying out justice, but he had not become God’s servant. He gave only lip service to God while permitting the worship of the golden calves. Sometimes we can be very active in our work for God and still not give the heartfelt obedience he desires for us to have towards Him.
32, 33 – Because of sin in both kingdoms, God used Hazael, king of Aram, not only to take away imperial holdings, but also to seize all Hebrew territories east of the Jordan River.

2 Kings – Chapter 9

2kings chapter 9

Jehu
From a human perspective, Jehu had the basic qualities that could have made him a great success. His family ruled the northern kingdom longer than any other did. He was used by God to punish Ahab’s evil dynasty, and he fiercely attacked Baal worship. He eliminated one form of idolatry, Baal worship, only to uphold another by continuing to worship golden calves Jeroboam had set up.
As He did with Jehu, God gives each person strengths and abilities that will find their greatest usefulness only under His guidance. Outside that control, however, they don’t accomplish what they could and often become tools for evil.
Verse 3 – Elijah had prophesied that many people would be killed when Jehu became king (1 Kings 19:16, 17). Thus, Elisha advised the young prophet to get out of the area as soon as he delivered his message, before the slaughter began.
Verses 14-17 – Elisha sent a prophet to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu as Israel’s new king. Jehu immediately rode to Jezreel to find and kill king Joram of Israel and king Ahaziah of Judah. Jehu killed Joram; Ahaziah fled toward Beth Hagan where he was wounded. He later died at Megiddo. Back in Jezreel, Jehu had Jezebel killed.
Verses 18, 19 – Jehu knew these men represented a wicked and disobedient king. Lasting peace can only come from knowing God who gives it to us.
Verse 21 – Joram behaved like a man of bravery and character in going to face the danger himself.
Verse 22 – Taken in its literal meaning the prostitution mentioned by Jehu probably referred to the temple prostitutes of Baalism. Witchcraft was also a routine part of pagan cults.
Verses 24-26 – These events happened near the second royal palace, the summer place, the place where Naboth and his sons were murdered. Joram was wicked like his father and mother, Ahab and Jezebel; therefore, his body was thrown into the field that his parents had unlawfully taken. Jezebel had arranged the murder of Naboth, the previous owner, because he would not sell his vineyard-which Ahab wanted for a garden (1 Kings 21:1-24). Little did Ahab know that it would become a burial plat for his evil son.
Verse 31 – Why did Jezebel refer to Zimri? Zimri was an army commander who, some 40 years earlier, had killed Elah and then had declared himself king of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10). Jezebel was accusing Jehu of trying the same treachery.
Verse 35 – Jezebel’s skull, feet, and hands were all that remained of her evil life—no power, no money, no prestige, no royal finery, no family, no spiritual heritage. In the end, all these things she had while alive amounted to nothing. Death strips everything away unless God is in your life and you leave a legacy for the Kingdom.

2 Kings – Chapter 8

2kingschapter8

Verses 1-6 – This event had to have taken place before Gehazi was struck with leprosy because the king’s court was full of people. It perhaps happened around chapter 5. Though obviously related to the earlier incident of the healing of the Shunammite woman’s son (4:32-37), this material may have been placed here because it also dealt with issues of government and beneficial rule. Elisha had warned this woman to take her family and go to where there was no famine, but now she was back and wanted her property back.
Verses 7, 8 – Once again the prophet was presented as an international celebrity. God’s mighty deeds gained influence even among foreigners though these deeds did not always lead to faith.
Verses 8-13 – Elisha’s meaning of his message was partially true. The illness was not terminal. However, Hazael committed murder and started a revolution by placing a wet cloth over the king’s face. When Elisha said that to Hazael he would sin greatly, Hazael protested he would never do that sort of thing. Ultimately, this very statement is what gets a lot of people in trouble. Instead of praying and asking for the strength to resist evil, we assume it could never happen to us.
Verses 12-15 – Elisha’s words about Hazael’s treatment of Israel were partially fulfilled in 10:32, 33. Apparently Hazael had known he would be king because Elijah had anointed him (1 Kings 19:15). Instead of waiting on God’s timing, he took matters into his own hands by killing Ben-Hadad.
Verse 18 – King Jehoshaphat (southern kingdom) arranged the marriage between Jehoram, his son, and Athaliah, the daughter of the wicked Ahab and Jezebel. Athaliah brought in the worship of Baal, which started the southern kingdom of Judah’s decline. When Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah became king. Then when Ahaziah was killed in battle, Athaliah murdered all her grandsons except Joash and made herself queen (11:1-3).
Verses 20-22 – Although Judah and Edom shared a common border and a common ancestor (Isaac), the two nations fought continually. Here Edom rebelled against Jehoram (Judah) and declared independence. Immediately, Jehoram marched out to attack Edom, but failed. Jehoram lost some of his borderlands as punishment for his failure to honor God.
Verses 26, 27 – The evil of Ahab and Jezebel were spread to Judah through Athaliah, their daughter.
Verses 28, 29 – Israel and Judah had become an ally. The big step in the decline of Israel’s political power would come with Jehu’s widespread massacres. There is no notice for the end of Ahaziah’s reign since his death is recorded later as part of Jehu’s massacres.