Second Kings continues the history of the two Israelite kingdoms where First Kings leaves off. The book may be divided into two parts: (1) The story of the two kingdoms from the middle of the ninth century b.c. down to the fall of Samaria and the end of the northern kingdom in 722 b.c. (2) The story of the kingdom of Judah from the fall of the kingdom of Israel down to the capture and destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia in 586 b.c. The book ends with an account of Gedaliah as governor of Judah under the Babylonians and a report of the release of King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison in Babylon.
These national disasters took place because of the unfaithfulness of the kings and people of Israel and Judah. The destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of many of the people of Judah was one of the great turning points of Israelite history.
The prophet who stands out in Second Kings is Elijah's successor Elisha.
Outline of Contents
The divided kingdom (1.1—17.41)
a. The prophet Elisha (1.1—8.15)
b. The kings of Judah and of Israel (8.16—17.4)
c. The fall of Samaria (17.5-41)
The kingdom of Judah (18.1—25.30)
a. From Hezekiah to Josiah (18.1—21.26)
b. Josiah's reign (22.1—23.30)
c. The last kings of Judah (23.31—24.20)
d. The fall of Jerusalem (25.1-30)
Second Kings continues the story begun in 1 Kings. It tells of the fall of Israel to the Assyrian Empire in 722 b.c. and the defeat of Judah by the Babylonians in 586 b.c. The fall of Judah and its capital city Jerusalem marked the beginning of the next phase of Israel's history, the Exile (or the Captivity), when the leading citizens of Judah were deported to Babylonia. These events were seen as judgment upon the people because they stopped following God's Law.