Wonderful Account From “2nd Kings”

Decline and Fall.

We had written on 1 Kings. The second book of Kings continues the story of the long downward spiral.

There is a sense of doom hanging over the book. This is a sense that the clouds were gathering, and the storms is about to break. The clouds , in particular, are the two great empires of Assyria and Babylon. These two mighty powers, between them would spell the end, first the Northern Kingdom of Israel and then the Southern Kingdom Judah.

The root of all their problems lay in the godliness of the kings and their peoples. Just as in the 1 Kings, God sends His prophets to warn the people of the fate that awaits them.

In 1 Kings the chief prophet was Elijah, and in 2 Kings the focus is on Elisha as prophet.

2 Kings 2 verses 1 to 18: Elijah and Elisha. In 1kings the chief character was Elijah, in 2 Kings the focus switches to Elisha, whose activities dominate the first 13 Chapters.

Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind, surrounded by chariots of fire. We should not pass by the significance here, that Elijah and Elisha were men of insight. To both these men, their vision of the whirlwind spoke of God’s Spirit, and the fire pointed to God’s purity.

Elijah was taken into God’s near presence, a rare Old Testament insight.{2 Kings 2 verses 1 to 8} Elisha begins his ministry.

Elijah and Elisha ministry are complete contrast to each other:
Elijah was the prophet of judgement, law and severity. Elisha was the prophet of Grace, love and tenderness.

Two miracles: 2 kings 2 verses 19 to 25:  In Jericho, Elisha purifies the water, and as he heads towards Bethel, some boys come out of the woods and jeer at him, about his appearance. Hair was a significant symbol in the Old Testament, a symbol of masculinity and strength.  Elisha was bald.. the boys mock him, showing a complete disdain for the Lord’s prophet. Elisha curses them in the name of the Lord, they are straight away attacked by 2 bears. {2 Kings 2 verses 23 and 24}.

The corruption of Israel: 2 Kings 1 to 17: Jeroboam, the ruler of the Northern Kingdom Israel, made Shechem his capital. It was custom for the people, according to the law, to go to Jerusalem, but Jeroboam was afraid to travel there because it was the capital of Rehoboam’s kingdom.

Jeroboam made to golden calves to be worshiped instead, placing one in Bethel in the south end of his kingdom, and the Dan in the north end of his kingdom. Jeroboam was described 20 times, as the one who caused Israel to sin. We must only worship the One True God who created us.

2 Kings 17; After 200 years the people were carried into captivity by the Assyrians. Many Prophets had warned Israel of their captivity, but they would not turn form their idolatry

Captivity of The Southern Kingdom Judah, happened about 136 years after the Northern Kingdom had been captivated. The Southern Kingdom was taken captive by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.

There is a great difference between, the fall of Israel {northern} and Judah {southern} Kingdom. Israel was scattered throughout the nations for an indefinite period, but God had specified how long Judah captivity would be 70 years. Judah was to return to Jerusalem, and they later did. The Messiah {Jesus} was to come out of Judah. God was preparing a way for Him.

But before we sit in judgement on these recalcitrant people, we should note that the strength of human self-will, is a great in us as it was in them. The determination to dilute their devotion and accommodate some aspects of contemporary culture which conflicted with their Faith is repeated in every age. People always take the way of least resistance.

This was 2 kings in a nutshell, there are many miracles recorded that Elisha did.  We will attempt to bring these stories out in other articles, rather than get too lengthy in our writing on 2 Kings.

God Bless.

O F J.

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