Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


16. Second Kings: The End of National Israel

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Outline the basic content of the book of 2 Kings
  • Compare the ministry of Elisha with that of Elijah
  • Relate at least ten episodes of Elisha’s life
  • Present the author’s purpose for writing 2 Kings
  • List the key figures in Judah and Israel
  • State the cause for the fall of Israel
  • Differentiate between the good and bad kings of Judah
  • Demonstrate how prophecy was fulfilled in 2 Kings

Chapter Summary

  1. In the book of 2 Kings, both Israel and Judah are secure at first, but because of their apostasy, both are destroyed.
  2. The approach in 2 Kings is to present a theological analysis of the persons or events that were influential in bringing destruction on Israel.
  3. Beginning with Elijah, prophets in Israel played a new role, one that represented their power and authority.
  4. Elisha’s ministry helped bring the destruction of the dynasty of Omri in Israel.
  5. When the kingdom followed the leadership of the prophets they succeeded.
  6. In 2 Kings 15, the instability of Israel is evident because there is a rapid succession of kings.
  7. The Assyrians captured Samaria after a siege of three years.
  8. Israel was destroyed because the people broke God’s statutes and commandments, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves.
  9. When Jerusalem was destroyed, Judah began a period of Babylonian exile.
  10. Two important theological themes are found in the books of Kings. First, the books present the history of Israel from the viewpoint of the Mosaic covenant. Second, prophecy has a significant role.

Study Questions

  1. How much time is covered by the book of 2 Kings?
  2. What is the overall theme of this book?
  3. What is the theological purpose of 2 Kings?
  4. What is the importance of Elisha’s ministry as portrayed in 2 Kings?
  5. Briefly describe the ideological conflict between Baalism and the worship of God as found in 2 Kings.
  6. Describe the international political situation of 2 Kings. How does this tie in with the author’s purpose in writing this book?
  7. What lasting effect did the Assyrian policy of deportation have on God’s people?
  8. Briefly list some of the positive aspects found in 2 Kings, especially in relation to the good kings.
  9. What are the main theological themes of 2 Kings?