The Old Testament | The Books of History

2 Kings

Things to know
Where does the book begin?

The book of 2 Kings starts where 1 Kings ends.

Where does the book end?

The book ends with the story of how the people went into exile*. God removed the people from the land.

People to know


Places to go

God took Elijah to Heaven*
2 Kings 2:1-14

Elisha helped a widow with oil
2 Kings 4:1-7

Elisha made a sick soldier well again
2 Kings 5:1-14

Jehu is anointed as king of Israel
2 Kings 9:1-13, 9:30-37

Josiah fixed the temple*
2 Kings 22:1-10

A wicked king burned Jerusalem
2 Kings 25:1-12

The Story of 2 Kings

The books of 1 and 2 Kings were once one book. That is why the book of 2 Kings starts where 1 Kings ends. The book tells the story of God and his people through some very dark days. There would be new kings and new prophets* in Israel* and Judah. But the big story is always about God. God is at work in the story of his people.

Many times, the people of Israel and Judah did not obey God. Sometimes, they would remember God and turn from their bad ways. But most of 2 Kings tells stories of the many ways that the people forgot about God. God was patient with his people. He sent them prophets* to warn them. They told the people to turn back to God. But the people did not listen.

Elisha was one of the prophets*. He helped the prophet* Elijah for many years. When Elijah was about to go away, Elisha asked him for a blessing. He wanted to do the kinds of things that Elijah had done. He wanted to do even more. So God answered Elisha’s prayer. Elisha made sick people better. He made an axe float on water. He even made a dead child become alive again. He did many other miracles too. Now, Elisha spoke for God. He told the kings to follow God. He warned them not to do evil* things. He called the people back from their evil* ways. He told them to obey God again.

But they still did not listen.

The kings of Israel* built many altars to false gods. They did not worship* the true God. They refused to worship* at the temple* in Jerusalem. They did not do what God had told them.[1] They did not listen to the words of the prophets*.

So God sent an army from Assyria to punish them. They surrounded the city of Samaria. Their army marched into the land. They attacked the cities and took the people of God away. This began a time that the Bible calls ‘the exile*’. When people are in exile*, they are taken away from their land. They are made to live far away from their home land.

The rest of 2 Kings tells stories about the kings of Judah. These kings were all from the family of David. Some of them did good things. Hezekiah[2] helped the people follow God again. Josiah[3] helped the people too. But this did not last long. Most of the kings were not good. So, after many years, God sent another army. This time, the army from Babylon came and made war against Judah. The army[4] burned Jerusalem. Then they took the people far away from home. They carried the people away from the land.

All of these things happened to Judah because they did not obey God’s word. The prophets* told them that this would happen. God keeps his promises. That is one of the most important lessons in the book.

But, even after so many bad stories, the book ends with a word of hope*.[5] One of the kings from David’s family was still alive. The king of Babylon was kind to him. [6] God could still keep his promise to David. As long as that was true, there was still hope*.

There are many sad stories in this book. There are stories about bad kings and wicked people. But God did not forget his promises. He did not desert his people.[7]

  • [1] Deuteronomy 12
  • [2] 2 Kings 18-20
  • [3] 2 Kings 22-23
  • [4] 2 Kings 24:1
  • [5] 2 Samuel 7:16
  • [6] 2 Kings 25:28
  • [7] See Exodus 34:6

The Old Testament | The Books of History