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The Big Book–Cover to Cover: 2 Kings

Michael continues our series The Big Book – Cover to Cover with an overview of 2 Kings. In this book we see the reign of 19 more kings in the Divided Kingdom, the transfer of leadership between Elijah and Elisha, and are introduced to a new prophet: Isaiah.

As we read about the faith of the prophets and failures of many of these kings, we’re prompted to ask: where do we turn in times of trouble? Do we seek answers from our own resources, worldview, network, friends?

Show Notes:

Reading 2 Kings is like watching a train wreck: you can’t look away

Elisha will pick up Elijah’s mantel. Fascinating study: compare/contrast the lives of Elijah and Elisha

2 Kings records 19 kings who reign from Israel and do evil in the sight of the Lord.

2 Kings covers 286 years

Chapters 1-17 are Judah’s story: Israel will fall and go into Assyria

Chapter 18 marks a shift in the story and tells the record of the fall of Judah and exile to Babylon.

2 Kings 1:3 – Observe: Ahaziah does not ask God for help.

Is there no King in Israel?

2 Kings 1:3, 2 Kings 1:6, 2 Kings 1:16

Is there no God in your current struggle? When we seek any “god” other than YHWH Elohim, other than Jesus, what are we doing? Where do we go when we have a problem? Likely we don’t go to the “Lord of the Flies,” but we go to our own resources, our friends, our network, to our worldview. This is a good reminder to begin by inquiring of the Lord.

In contrast: we’re introduced to the phrase “man of God” which occurs 36 times in 2 Kings.


In 2 Kings 1, two groups of 50 of Ahaziah’s men are consumed by fire. Remember, Elijah also called down fire in 1 Kings 18. This is important because this will be passed down to Elisha.

Often when you read “the angel of the Lord,” this is a theophany or Christophany: Christ shows up and instructs Elijah.

2 Kings 2: Elijah’s death (but not really) and the succession from Elijah to Elisha illustrated by Elijah’s mantle.

2 Kings 3: the divided kingdom – Jehoram in Israel and Jehosaphat in Judah who both did evil in the sight of the Lord.

2 Kings 3:7 Elisha steps in and the title “man of God” is attached to him.
Elisha’s miracles:

  1. The widow and the miracle of oil
  2. The Shunammite Woman who builds an upper room for the traveling Elisha. Her son dies and Elisha resurrects him. Reminiscent of?? Elijah and the widow of Zarephath whom Elijah resurrects.
  3. Then we have the miracle of the poisonous stew and a cryptic multiplication of bread and grain
  4. Naaman –a captain of Aram’s military –who was a leper is healed (including aside story of greedy (gih HAY zigh) Gehazi a kind of talionic justice; he and his descendants will be leprous)
  5. The borrowed axe head lost in the water, made to float
  6. King of Arameans foiled attempt to capture Elisha.

The well known verse 2 Kings 6:16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

2 Kings 6 – we meet Ben-Hadad. Terrible story about eating children to survive the famine and Jehoram’s response is anger toward Elisha: 2 Kings 6:31

Elisha’s word is the word of the Lord and promises the famine will be gone the following day (2 Kings 7:1)

Fascinating story of the four lepers who go into Samaria and ultimately go to inform the Samaritans that the famine is over.

By 2 Kings 11 we meet Athaliah: daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, sister of Ahaziah. She murders her own grandsons to make herself queen.

Before Athaliah murders all her grandsons, her sister Jehosheba steals one away and hides him: Joash. Seven yeras later he’s made king by the loyalists to the covenant of the House of David. (2 Kings 12:9-12)

Joash reigns 40 years and will generally do what is right in the sight of the Lord, except for the “high places.”

Elisha dies (2 Kings 13:20-21)

2 Kings 13:23 – Don’t miss the significance of this verse. This is the Abrahamic covenant folded into the storyline of the dilapidated, divided kingdom. In the midst of sin and rebellion, God’s covenant promises remain and it continues through then and all the way to the New Covenant with Jesus Christ.

2 Kings 17:23 – God has dealt with Israel, now we’ll go to Judah

Hezekiah, Asa, Jehosephat, and Josiah are the kings that do right in the sight of the Lord.

2 Kings 18:5-7

We’re introduced to a new prophet: Isaiah.

Lessons from 2 Kings:

1. Does our sin make others sin? Struck by Jeroboam’s cadence: he made Israel sin. When you’re a mom, dad, leader, employee – you have an imperceptible influence. People observe us in ways we don’t know about and it is influential. It can be positive or negatively influential.

2. What or whom do you fear? And why? We’re afraid of the wrong things. We need to fear God. I think we need a holy fear about God. Another way to say this is: Is God your first concern?

3. Most kings were evil in the sight of the Lord. Is it any wonder He grants power to a few? It is any wonder so many in power are evil? 2 Kings 25:9 is nauseating to read. Nebuchadnezzar plunders the works of the Temple complex. The entire worship center is dismantled, all her leaders killed.

4. God’s word is always near. Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah were near. God’s word “gets lost” when we ignore Him.

5. God delights when we cling to Him and His word.

Michael Easley

About Michael Easley

Michael is husband to one, dad to four, and host of Michael Easley inContext.

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