Study Notes and Personal Bible Study Activities for
the Book of 2 Kings
II Kings 1:1-2:25 In this reading we see that God does not take it lightly when worship (fear, love and trust), that belongs to him alone is given to other so-called ‘gods’; there is a switch in kings (be careful – the names of kings of Judah and Israel are the same here for a time); Elijah is taken to heaven and Elisha rises. The reading ends as it begins – God’s rebuke on those who do not honor him or those who are his messengers (see Luke 10:16.).
II Kings 3:1-4:17 Do you ever wonder, as you read stories like these about the prophet Elisha, if the age of miracles is past or we don’t expect them from God or see them when He does them? Doesn’t the kindness of the Shunnamite woman warm your heart? I remember my heart being warmed by this as a child – and I have witnessed it among God’s people as an adult! In what ways might you provide some hospitality today? Purposely look for ways you can serve others throughout the day today.
II Kings 4:18-5:27 What an astounding first story here! You see the foreshadowing of our Savior in the actions of His prophet Elisha. Note the sad commentary on our human nature that Elisha’s servant shows.
II Kings 6:1-7:20 Elisha continues to be used in amazing ways by the LORD. Gruesome results of Israel’s sin confront us in the concluding narrative of this chapter. Note how God’s grace provides an astounding deliverance for His unworthy helpless people! See how the lepers are used by God to share His grace – apply their words to our own duty as God’s people today: “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news…let us go and tell the king's household.”
II Kings 8:1-9:13 The LORD’S intense use of His servant Elisha continues in this reading. Verse19 shows the gracious faithfulness of the LORD – though man is faithless, God is faithful. He cannot deny Himself. We do see in God’s persistent pursuit of punishment for Ahab’s wicked offspring, that our faithful God will also bring His punishment upon the impenitent and the wicked.
II Kings 9:14-10:31 Get ready for a whirlwind ride today as you follow God’s amazing servant Jehu! Note the sad fact however – as much as Jehu was used by God and served Him, he had a fatal flaw: he “did not turn from the sins of Jereboam”. He continued the idolatry of forsaking God’s appointed place (Jerusalem) and form of worship prescribed in Leviticus for the cult of worship in Bethel and Dan, the alternate sites established by Jereboam. Lord, help us to see and then to forsake “blind spots” or pet sins in our lives.
II Kings 10:32-12:21 The contrast in this reading is great between evil (Athaliah) and good (Joash) in this reading. Note the importance of “Christian education” (12:2) as we see its impact and influence in the life of Joash!
II Kings 13:1-14:29 Godly rulers result in blessings to their land. Evil doers bring adversity and destruction. As the apostle would later repeat: “God is not mocked – a man shall reap what he sows.”
II Kings 15:1-16:20 We see Azariah and his son co-reigning. This seems also to have been the case with other kings of Judah and Israel as the chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah otherwise does not mesh if we strictly go “by the numbers.” Israel and Judah continue their spiritual deterioration and spiraling out of control into eventual exile.
II Kings 17:1-18:12 The history of Israel comes to its end and we see the beginning of the mixed Samaritan culture/religion that later would be a source of strife. Judah’s good Hezekiah reigns, but it’s too little too late; Judah too is to fall under the wrath of God.
II Kings 18:13-19:37 Mighty words from a threatening world power strikes terror in the hearts of the people. But note who ‘wins.’ Nothing has changed. God always ends up on the top.
II Kings 20:1-22:2 Spiritual highs and lows mark the kings at the end of Judah’s history. Hezekiah and Josiah are bright lights – what made them that?
II Kings 22:2-23:30 Josiah’s reign is detailed. His renovation of the temple resulted in an even greater work, a striving to restore the religion of Israel based on ‘a book’, God’s word, found during the temple’s restoration. But the spiritual damage Judah had done to itself was too great – God’s wrath would come to Judah as well.
II Kings 23:31-25:30 We see the tragic end to the kingdom of Judah. That end came because they failed to use the liberty he gave them well and failed to worship, honor and thank God for who he is and all his blessings to them. But God would return some of the people to the land one day so his salvation plan could be worked out according to his word and promise.