The Bible: Kings 2

And here in Kings 2, we continue the rundown of the various kings of Israel and Judah, along with their rather fraught relationships with the kings of Moab, Egypt, Syria, Assyria, and Babylon, plus a note on how God is judging them (hint: mostly sinful.)

Once more, the chapters that discuss the various kings of Israel and Judah generally end with the direction that more information about that king is available in The Annals of the Kings of Judah, or The Annals of the Kings of Israel.

Also the prophet Elisha gets a lot of stories:

Chapter two: A chariot of fire comes to take the prophet Elijah bodily up to heaven. The devoted assistant/apprentice Elisha becomes an even greater prophet (and sends bears to kill 42 men who mocked his bald head. – Kings 2 2:23)

Chapter four: Elisha is a prophet and, among other miracles, raises the dead.

Chapter five: Elisha cures a leper but refuses a reward. His assistant Gehazi sneaks around in order to con the reward out of the former-leper, and Elisha curses Gehazi with the leprosy himself.

Chapter six: Elisha spies on the Syrian king via prophesy and then leads a troop of Syrian soldiers intent on kidnapping him to Samaria, has them given the food and water offered to prisoners of war and then sent on their way back to Syria.

Chapter seven: Elisha breaks a siege by scaring away the Syrian troop besieging Samaria to the extent that the troops even leave all their supplies behind and the starving Samarian residents feast, except for an unbeliever who gets trampled to death.

Chapter thirteen: Elisha dies an old man and is buried, but later some Moabite bandits went to bury one of their own dead in his tomb, but as soon as the dead bandit came in contact with Elisha’s bones, he came back to life. Wowza.

As for the rest, there’s a continuation of the various Kings, each of which have their own stories that mostly involve being invaded by various other kings.

Kings of Israel

  • King Ahaziah (son of King Ahab, fell off a porch, broke his leg, and died) (sinful)
  • King Jehoram* (son of King Ahab, brother of King Ahaziah) (sinful)
  • King Jehu**** (son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah) (sinful)
  • King Jehoahaz (son of King Jesu) (sinful)
  • King Jehoash + (son of King Jeheoahaz) (sinful)
  • King Jeroboam II *****(son of King Jehoash) (sinful)
  • King Zechariah (son of King Jeroboam II, king for only six months before he was assassinated by Shallum) (sinful)
  • King Shallum (king for only a month before he was assassinated by Menahem)
  • King Menahem (sinful)
  • King Pekahiah (son of King Menahem) (sinful)
  • King Pekah (assassinated King Pekahiah) (sinful)
  • King Hoshea (assassinated King Pekah) (sinful)

King Shalmaneser of Assyria invaded in King Hoshea’s seventh year. Three years later, Samaria is conquered and the people of Israel are taken from the land (due to their sinfulness). This happens in the sixth year of King Hezekiah of Judah.

And thus ends the Kings of Israel.

Kings of Judah

  • King Jehoshaphat
  • King of Joram* (son of King Jehoshaphat) (sinful)
  • King Ahaziah (son of King Joram) (sinful)
  • Queen Athaliah ** (mother of King Ahaziah) (unstated)
  • King Joash *** + (son of King Ahaziah) (virtuous but also sinful?)
  • King Amaziah (son of King Joash) (mostly virtuous)
  • King Azariah (aka King Uzziah?) (son of King Amaziah) (mostly virtuous)
  • King Jotham (son of King Azariah) (mostly virtuous)
  • King Ahaz (son of King Jotham) (sinful)
  • King Hezekiah (son of King Ahaz) (virtuous)
  • King Manasseh (son of King Hezekiah) (extremely sinful)
  • King Amon (son of King Manasseh) (sinful)
  • King Josiah (son of King Amon) (extremely virtuous)
  • King Jehoahaz (son of King Josiah) (sinful)
  • King Eliakim aka King Jehoiakim (son of King Josiah, puppet to Pharoah Neco) (sinful)
  • King Jehoiachin (son of King Jehoiakim) (sinful)
  • King Mattaniah AKA King Zedekiah (uncle of King Jehoiachin, puppet to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon) (sinful)

Judah is essentially destroyed after King Mattaniah attempts to rebel. All the remaining population left for Egypt as refugees. Some 37 years after King Jehoiachin is dethroned and replaced by King Mattaniah, the new king of Babylon, King Evilmerodach releases Joehoiachin from prison, gives him a regular allowance and a seat at the table of kings.

And thus ends the listing of the Kings of Judah.

Summary: There are a lot of Kings of Israel and Judah, most of them were sinful, but they each get little stories of their lives and troubles. It’s kind of overwhelming as the two sets of kings are tracked in relationship to each other.

Moral: Punishment is coming. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t aware you were sinning, and apologizing might postpone the inevitable a generation or more, but punishment is definitely coming.

* The edition I was using of the Living Bible actually had several typos here and confused King Jehoram with King Joram and it made a confusing situation even more so. I cross-checked with a copy of the New English Bible to figure out who’s who.

+ The edition of the Living Bible also uses Joash for both King Joash of Judah and King Jehoash of Israel. Trying to figure out who’s doing what is incredibly frustrating.

** When she learned of her son’s death, she had all of his sons (her grandsons) killed, so that she could rule instead.

*** He was hidden in a temple as an infant and raised there in secret for seven years.

**** This was a crazy drive-by anointing. Elisha tells one of his younger prophet students to go get Jehu away from his friends, dump a bottle of holy oil over his head, tell him that he’s been chosen as the new king of Israel, and then the young prophet needs to run for his life to avoid being killed in the fallout. (chapter 9).

***** Kings 2 14:25 references the prophet Jonah (son of Amittai) the prophet from Gathhepher. Jonah apparently saw the various failures of King Jeroboam II. Was this the Jonah of Jonah and the whale? I have no idea.

Next up: Chronicles I

4 comments on “The Bible: Kings 2

  1. Anna says:

    Oh, man, the Biblical punishment for a bald joke is death by bear? That is harsh!

  2. Ben says:

    Jehu was always my favorite as a kid. People saw the cloud of dust raised by his chariot in the distance, and they knew it was him, because he was the only one who drove that fast. Then he drove into town, and told Jezebel’s servants to throw her out the second story window, which they did.

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