Saturday, 12 February 2011

2 Kings

Brief summary:
Elijah and Elisha
·         Soldiers who seek to arrest Elijah are consumed in fire
·         Elisha’s followers = the sons of the prophets
·         Elijah parts the waters of the Jordan
·         Elijah is taken to heaven in a chariot of fire
·         Youths mocking Elisha’s baldness are mauled by bears
·         Water is miraculously produced in a valley for the combined forces of Israel and Judah against the Moabites
·         A widow’s single jar of oil fills many vessels and is sold to pay debts and save her sons from becoming slaves.
·         A barren Shunammite woman who offers Elisha hospitality is promised a son. The son is later killed in a harvesting accident, and brought by Elisha back to life.
·         During a famine, Elisha purifies a stew made of poisonous herbs and wild gourds.
·         Eliha cures Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, of leprosy.
·         Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, is punished with leprosy when he seeks a reward from Naaman.
·         An axe head I recovered by being made to float in a river.
·         Mountains full of horses and chariot appear when the Syrians attempt to kidnap Elisha. The soldiers are blinded.
·         The forces of king Ben-Hadad of Syria abandon their siege of Syria when they hear the noise of horses and chariot.
·         Hazael kills Ben-Hadad after Elisha tells him he will be the next king.
·         The corpse of a man buried with Elisha is brought back to life.




·         Reigns 853-852
·         Bad


·         Reigns 853-841
·         Bad
·         Edomite rebellion


·         Reigns 852-841
·         Mostly bad
·         Injured in battle at Ramah against the Syrians


·         Reigns 841
·         Bad
·         War against Hazael and the Syrians
·         Forms anti-Syrian alliance with Joram
·         Killed by Jehu


·         Reigns 841-814
·         Mostly bad
·         Murders everyone of the house of Ahab, including Jezebel, who is defenestrated
·         Kills all Baal worshippers
·         Golden calves remain at Bethel and Dan

Queen Athaliah

·         Reigns 841-835
·         Bad
·         Mother of Ahaziah
·         Kills all of Ahaziah’s heirs, apart from Joash, who manages to escape, and who later deposes her
·         Killed when Joash is proclaimed king by the priest Jehoiada


·         Reigns 814-798
·         Bad
·         Captured by Syrians


·         Reigns 835-796
·         Mostly good
·         Protected from Athaliah by the priest Jehoiada, and proclaimed king by him
·         Eliminates Baal worship
·         Rebuilds temple
·         Does not take away high places
·         Appeases Hazael of Syria by giving him items from the temple
·         Killed by servants


·         Reigns 798-782
·         Bad
·         Win a war against Amaziah, takes him captive, and loots the temple


·         Reigns 796-767
·         Mostly good, though does not remove high places
·         Kills the servants who murdered his father
·         Taken captive by Jehoah
·         Deposed, flees, killed

Jeroboam II

·         Reigns 793-753
·         Bad

Azariah (Uzziah)

·         Reigns 792-740
·         Good (though does not remove the high places)
·         Dies a leper


·         Reigns 753 for 6 months
·         Bad


·         Reigns 750-732
·         Good
·         Attacked by Syria


·         Reigns 752 for one month
·         Bad


·         Reigns 752-742
·         Bad


·         Reigns 752-732
·         Bad


·         Reigns 742-740
·         Bad


·         Reigns 732-723
·         Bad
·         Conspires againt Assyria, and is imprisoned


·         Reigns 735-715
·         Bad
·         Asks Assyria for help after Israel and Syria attack

Samaria falls to Assyrian King Shalmaneser V. The ten tribes of Israel are taken captive to Assyria.


·         Reigns 715-686
·         Very good
·         Removes high places
·         The Assyrian forces of Sennacherib are repelled; an angel kills 185,000
·         Granted 15 more years of life when he is ill
·         Bares his treasures to the son of the king of Babylon


·         Reigns 696-642
·         Very bad


·         Reigns 642-640
·         Bad
·         Killed by servants


·         Reigns 640-609
·         Best
·         Shakes off Assyrian dominance
·         Rebuilds temple
·         A book of law is discovered during temple renovation – Josiah reads it to the people, and implement religious reform
·         Centralised Passover
·         Destroys the altar at Bethel
·         Killed by king Necho of Egypt at the battle of Megiddo


·         Reigns 609 for three months
·         Bad
·         Taken prisoner by Necho


·         Reigns 609-598
·         Bad
·         Installed by Necho
·         Made a vassal by Nebuchadnezzar
·         Problems with foreign raiders


·         Reigns 598-597
·         Bad
·         Son of Jehoiakim
·         Taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar
·         First wave of deportation


·         Reigns 597-586
·         Bad
·         Blinded and taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar when he rebels
·         Second wave of deportation


·         Governor installed by the Babylonians in 586
·         Killed by the Judans, who flee to Egypt


Moab, which had been under Israelite control since David, rebels after the death of Ahab. Ahaziah is injured in a fall in his house, sends messengers to the god Baal-Zebub. Elijah prophecies against Ahaziah. Two sets of fifty soldiers who try to arrest Elijah are consumed by fire. A third set of soldiers asks Elijah to spare their lives, so he does and comes before the king, and repeats his prophecy against Ahaziah, who then dies.


Elisha follows Elijah. Elisha’s followers are called the sons of the prophets. Elijah strikes the water of the Jordan with his mantle, and it is divided into two. A chariot of fire carries Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha receives the spirit of Elijah, and divides the water with his mantle. Elisha heals the water of Jericho so it is no longer bad. Bears maul youths who mock Elisha’s baldness.


Jehoram of Israel (who puts away the pillar of Baal but still does evil in the sight of the Lord) and Jehoshaphat fight against the rebellious Moabites. Elisha predicts victory for Israel, and water is miraculously produced in the valley. Moab is defeated. The king of Moab desperately sacrifices his own son.


Elisha works miracles. A widow’s single jar of oil fills many vessels and is sold to pay debts and save her sons from becoming slaves. A barren Shunammite woman who offers Elisha hospitality is promised a son. The son is later killed in a harvesting accident, and brought by Elisha back to life. During a famine, Elisha purifies a stew made of poisonous herbs and wild gourds. Twenty loaves are multiplied to feed a hundred men.


Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, gets leprosy. Elisha instructs him to wash in the Jordan seven times, and he does so, despite initial resistance to such humbling instructions. Elisha refuses a reward. Naaman asks pardon for being compelled to worship Syrian gods, and is told to go in peace. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, follows after Naaman and takes a reward from him. Gehazi lies about what he did to Naaman, and is punished with leprosy.

The sons of the prophet go to build a bigger house for themselves. While cutting down a tree at the Jordan, an axe drops into the water. Elisha takes a stick, throws it in the water, and the axe floats. Elisha gives the king of Israel information from divinely inspired espionage, so the king of Syria conspires to kidnap him at Dothan. Elisha and Israel are protected by a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. The Syrians are blinded and taken to Samaria – their lives are spared, but they do not raid Israel again. Samaria is later besieged by Ben-Hadad, and people resort to cannibalism. The king is angry at Elisha for this calamity, and seeks his head.


Elisha predicts that food will be cheaper the following day. Four leprous men surrender to the Syrian army – the Syrians have abandoned their camp, however, hearing the noises of chariots and horses. The lepers enjoy the abandoned food and wealth, then spread the good news. A officer who doubted Elisha’s prophecy is trampled to death.


The Shunammite woman whose son Elisha has restored to life leaves Israel for seven years, warned by Elisha to depart because of a famine. When she returns, she manages to reclaim her own land when Gehazi, who is dealing with her case, is told of all the wonderful things Elisha has done. Ben-Hadad becomes ill, and asks Hazael to consult Elisha as to whether he will recover. Elisha tells Hazael he will becomes the next king. Hazael kills Ban-Hadad. Jehoram follows Jehoshapat as king of Judah. He does evil. An Edomite rebellion started against Judah that continues to this day. Joram dies, and is replaced as king by Ahaziah, who reigns for one year. He does evil, and battles against Hazael of Syria. Ahaziah forms an anti-Syrian alliance with Joram of Israel after Joram is injured in battle against the Syrians at Ramah.


Elisha calls a prophet’s son to anoint Jehu, son of Jehoshapat, king of Israel. The Lord intends to use Jehu as a tool of judgment against the house of Ahab. Jehu approaches Jezreel, where Joram king of Israel (son-in-law of Ahab and Jezebel) is recovering. Jehu kills Joram, whose body is dumped in Naboth’s vineyard. Jehu also kills the wicked king Ahaziah of Judah. Jehu also defenestrates Jezebel, whose body is eaten by dogs (fulfilling a previous prophecy).


Jehu bullies Jezreel into the killing of Ahab’s seventy sons. He also kills Ahaziah’s forty-two brothers. Jehu executes the remainder of Ahab’s family at Samaria. Jehu gathers all Baal worshippers in Israel and kills them. The golden calves remain at Bethel and Dan, however. Syria captures large parts of Israel’s territory. Jehu reigns 28 years, and is replaced by Jehoahaz.


Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, kills all the heirs of Ahaziah and reigns. Joash, the son of Ahaziah, is saved by Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram. After six years, Jehoiada reveals Joash, and has him proclaimed king when he is seven. Athaliah is killed at the orders of Jehoiada the priest. Baal worship is eliminated.


Joash rules in Jerusalem 40 years, obeys God (though the high places are not taken away), rebuilds temple, gives temple items to Hazael of Syria to appease him, and is killed by his servants. His son, Amaziah, reigns.


Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, reigns in Israel, does evil, is delivered into the hands of Syria, and dies. Jehoash, his son, reigns, does evil, and dies. Elisha is sick, and dies. A man is buried with Elisha, and is revived when his corpse touches his bones.


Amaziah, the son of Joash, reigns. He is good, though does not remove the high places. Amaziah kills the servants who murdered his father, but not their children, because of what Moses had said regarding not punishing children for the sins of the parents. Amaziah fights Jehoash of Israel, loses, and is taken captive. Jehoash loots the temple, dies, and is replaced by his son, Jeroboam, who does evil. Presumably released after the death of Jehoash, Amaziah is desposed, flees, is killed, and replaced by his son, the sixteen year old Azariah. Jeroboam is replaced by Zechariah.


Azariah reigns for 52 years. He does right, though does not remove the high places. He dies a leper, and is replaced by Jotham, who does good. Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah and Pekah reign in Israel and disobey God. Jotham’s Judah is attacked by Syria. Jotham dies, and is replaced by Ahaz.


Ahaz rules Judah and reigns for sixteen years. He was a bad king, making human sacrifices with fire to Molech. Judah is attacked by Syria and Israel. Ahaz asks Assyria for help, so Assyria attacks Damascus and forcibly deports its people. Ahaz builds a false altar like the one he sees at Damascus altar. Ahaz dies, to be replaced by Hezekiah.


Hoshea rules Israel for 9 years, and disobeys God. Assyria imprisons Hoshea after uncovering his conspiracy against them, besieges Samaria, and takes Israel away as captives. The reason for Israel’s demise is its disobedience, and its rejection of repeated warnings. Assyrians settle in Samaria, which is now characterised by a mish-mash of different religions and religious practices, including Yahwehism.


Hezekiah rules Judah, and obeys God, removing the high places and destroying the bronze serpent of Moses which was worshipped idolatrously. Hezekiah defies Assyria, and subdues the Philistines. Assyria takes Israel captive. Assyria takes the fenced cities of Judah. Hezekiah tries to buy peace from the Assyrians, but Assyria threatens nonetheless. Rabshekah, the general of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, delivers an insulting speech about defying the Assyrians, trusting in the Lord, and trusting in the Egyptians. He speaks in Hebrew so all can understand him.


Hezekiah consults Isaiah, who speaks words of assurance on behalf of God to Hezekiah: Sennacherib will be defeated, and killed in his own land. Hezekiah prays. Isaiah prophesies against Sennacherib. An angel kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Sennacherib returns home, and is killed by his sons while worshipping in a pagan temple.


Hezekiah is very sick, and is told by God via Isaiah to put his house in order, because he will die. He asks God for more life, and is told (again by Isaiah) that he will recover and live another 15 years. As a sign, he makes the shadow on a sundial move backwards rather than forwards. Hezekiah bares the treasures of his kingdom to the son of the king of Babylon. Isaiah says the Lord is displeased, and that a day will come when the Babylonians carry the treasures and people of Judah away. Hezekiah dies, replaced by Manasseh.


Manasseh rules Judah for 55 years, rebuilds the high places, and worships other gods. Prophets predict Jerusalem’s destruction – it will be wiped as one wipes a dish. Amon rules Judah for two years, and turns from God. He is killed by his servants, and replaced by Josiah.


Josiah becomes king at 8 years old. He does right, and rebuilds the temple. Hilkiah, the high priest, finds a book of law (probably an earlier version of Deuteronomy), which is read to the king. Josiah tears his clothes. Huldah the prophetess warns that judgment is coming against Jerusalem, but not in Josiah’s time.


Josiah publically reads book of law to all Judah. Josiah set a thorough programme of religious reform in motion. He also destroy the pagan altar at Bethel (fulfilling the prophecy of 1 King 13), and the high places in Samaria. A centralised Passover is held in Jerusalem. Josiah is killed fighting at the battle of Megiddo, fighting king Necho of Egypt, who was travelling through Judah to assist the Assyrians. Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, takes over, and does evil. He reigns for three months, then is taken prisoner by Necho. Necho installs Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah. Jehoiakim is an Egyptian puppet, and reigns for eleven year.


Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon make Jehoiakim his vassal. Judah is attacked by raiders from Babylon, Syria, Moab and Ammon. Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, rules next and does evil. The Egyptians leave Judah alone, because the Babylonians become the dominant local power. Nebuchadnezzar besiege Jerusalem, and takes Jehoiachin prisoner. Jerusalem is stripped of its wealth, and all but the poorest are forcibly deported. Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, is installed on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah reigns for eleven years, and rebels against Nebuchadnezzar.


Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem again. The sons of Zedekiah are killed, and Zedekiah himself blinded and taken prisoner. Nebuchadnezzar destroys the temple and the city, taking valuables and people to Babylon. Gedaliah is made the governor of the few who remain. Gedaliah is assassinated, whereupon the remnant in Judah flee to Egypt. Jehoiachin leads a more comfortable life in Babylon.


  1. Campbell’s and O’Brien’s redaction theory (from Unfolding the Deuteronimistic History (2000)): the contrast between 2 Kings 22-23, with their glowing report of Josiah’s vigorous reforms, and 2 Kings 24-25, which describe Judah’s demise in the decades immediately following Josiah suggests Joshua-Kings underwent two Deuteronomistic revisions: one during Josiah’s reign, reflecting the hopes entertained for Judah’s future at that time, and one after the fall of Judah, much more pessimistic in character. The passages in 2 Kings 21-24 which make Manasseh’s sins responsible for the exile belong (it is argued) to this second redaction.

  2. 2 Kings 10:7, Jezreel is a city not a person.