Monday, August 22, 2011

2 Kings

Chapter 1
Ahaziah severely injures himself and inquires of the god of Ekron about his recovery. God sends Elijah to intercept Ahaziah's men and pronounces judgment and death for Ahaziah because of his actions. When the king realizes it was Elijah, he sends members of his army to get him. As each captain commands Elijah to come with them, the men are consumed with fire. Finally, the third captain begs for mercy from Elijah, and Elijah goes with him and delivers the prophetic judgment in person. The prophecy is fulfilled, and Joram(another son of Ahab's) becomes king.

Chapter 2
Elisha is determined to stay by Elijah's side. Elijah asks if there is anything he can do for him. Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Elijah tells him if he sees Elijah being taken by God, he'll receive it. Elisha witnessess Elijah being taken by God's chariot of fire, and he begins to perform many powerful miraculous signs.

Chapter 3
Moab rebels against Israel once they are under Joram's reign. Joram calls for help from Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He accepts his request for help. The army runs out of water on their way to the battle. The kings cry out to Elisha. Elisha does not want to help them, but he does because Jehoshaphat is with them.

Chapter 4
Elisha provides for the widow of a prophet by directing her to a miraculous supply of oil which pays off her debt and still remains enough to provide for her and her sons. Elisha also begins being cared for by a Shunnamite woman. He longs to bless her for her kindness. He prophesies that she will have a son. The son gets sick later in life, and dies; the mother runs to Elisha who prays for him, and the son is resurrected. There is also a story about the prophets eating bad stew. Elisha makes it safe to eat by placing meal into it. He also presides over a meal that God miraculously multiplies so it will feed a multitude.

Chapter 5
Elisha tells Naaman(captain of the Aramean army) how to be healed. Naaman is resistant at first, but he yields to Elisha's instructions and is healed. He offers a gift to Elisha, who turns it down. Gehazi, however, acquires a gift from Naaman under false pretenses. Elisha curses him with the leprosy that Naaman was just healed from.

Chapter 6
Elisha travels with some prophets on a wood cutting and building expedition. One of the prophets drops an axe head into the river. He gets upset because the axe is borrowed. Elisha causes it to float. The king of Aram tries to capture Elisha because he is constantly allowing Israel to be saved from Aram. Instead of capturing him, the men of Aram are struck with blindness and led to Samaria and into captivity. They are fed and released once they are given their sight back. While Israel is under siege at a later time, they experience a severe famine, and the king seeks to take out his anger on Elisha.

Chapter 7
Elisha prophecies a dramatic end to the famine. God scares off the Arameans. Four lepers discover the Aramean encampment deserted and full of food. The lepers come and tell the people. Upon this discovery, the famine came to its prophesied dramatic end. An unbelieving army officer is killed in a stampede of hungry people, and Elisha's prophecy about him is fulfilled also.

Chapter 8
Elisha warns the woman whose son he resurrected a coming famine. He tells her she needs to flee the area. After the seven years is over, she returns to reclaim her land. Gehazi, Elisha's servant, is retelling of amazing things he has seen from Elisha just at the time she happens to come before the king to make her request. The king orders all her possessions to be reclaimed. Elisha predicts the cruelty and kingship of Hazael. It comes to pass. Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram, reigns in Judah. He does evil. Edom was apparently under Jewish rule at the beginning of Jehoram's reign. It continued to the writing of 2 Kings. Jehoram is succeeded by Ahaziah, his son. He was related to King Ahab or Israel. He did evil. Ahaziah joins with Joram, king of Israel, and fights with the Arameans. King Joram is wounded and returns home to heal, and King Ahaziah goes there to visit him.

Chapter 9
Elisha tells one of the prophets to secretly annoiont an army officer named Jehu as king over Israel. The prophet does so and tells Jehu he is to carry out God's judgment on the house of Ahab, wiping them out entirely. Jehu carries out this judgment and providentially includes Ahaziah, king of Judah, because he "happens" to be visiting Joram while he recovers (remember that Ahaziah is tied to Ahab's blood line). Joram's body is cast onto the field of Naboth(Ahab wrongfully took Naboth's field after, his wife, Jezebel, conspired to have Naboth killed). Jezebel is also killed in a brutal way that fulfills God's prophetic judgment.

Chapter 10
Jehu invites the leaders of Jezreel (Ahab's home town) to pick a descendant of Ahab's and fight. They choose instead to kill Ahab's remaining descendants and submit to Jehu. Jehu also kills off the remainder of Ahab's family in Samaria. Jehu tricks the priests of Baal into assembling into one place and has them all killed. Jehu was commended by God for his thorough obedience, but Jehu still doesn't turn from worshipping the golden calves established by Jeroboam, son of Nebat. Jehu dies and his son, Jehoahaz succeeds him as king.

Chapter 11
Meanwhile in Judah, Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, kills the remaining royal family upon hearing of her son's death. However, Jehosheba, Ahaziah's sister, manages to save one of Ahaziah's sons, Joash. She hides him and his nurse in the temple for six years while Athaliah rules Judah. After six years, Jehoiada, the priest, organizes protection for the young boy and anoints him publicly as king. Athaliah tries to cry treason, but she is put to death quickly. The priest makes a covenant between the king, the people, and God to recommit themselves to serving God. They destroy the temple of Baal and kill his priest. Joash is placed on the throne and begins to reign at age seven.

Chapter 12
Joash collects offerings and spurs repair of the temple. However, when he was attacked by the Arameans, Joash chooses to give them sacred and valuable objects as a ransom to them. Joash is conspired against and killed by his officials. His son, Amaziah, succeeds him as king.

Chapter 13
Back in Israel, Jehoahaz reigned. He did evil for a long time, and God punished Israel by oppressing them with the Arameans. Jehoahaz finally sought the favor of God, and God delivered them but only after their once large army had been almost utterly wiped out. Jehoahaz dies and is succeeded by his son, Jehoash. Jehoash goes to Elisha as Elisha is dying and weeps for the sad state of Israel. Elish prophesies a victory over Aram and a measured amount of furute victory for Israel. Elisha dies. A story of a dead man raised by simply touching Elisha's bones is told. Jehoash recaptures some of the towns taken by the Arameans.

Chapter 14
Amaziah reigns in Judah. He does so justly. He does not abolish all wrong practices, but he does reign justly for the most part. He has some good victories, but when he challenges Jehoash, he is defeated and captured. Jehoash loots Jerusalem and the temple. Upon Jehoash's death, his son Jeroboam reigns. Amaziah lives for 15 years after the death of Jehoash, but he is conspired against and killed. Amaziah is succeeded by his son, Azariah. Meanwhile, Jeroboam does evil. In spite of his evil, God uses Jeroboam to accomplish mercy for many who have been oppressed within Israel. Zechariah succeeds his father, Jeroboam, upon his death.

Chapter 15
Azariah reigns in Judah. He is king for 52 years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord except for not removing the high places. God afflicted Azariah with leprosy. His son, Jotham, governs during his reign, and he succeeded him as king once Azariah dies.
In Israel, Zechariah did evil. Shallum assassinates him and fulfills God's prophetic limitation of Jehu's descendants on the throne to the fourth generation. Shallum is only king for a month, and Menahem assassinates him and becomes king. Menahem reigns ten years and does evil. Menahem ransoms Israel from Assyria with a payoff. His son, Pekahiah, reigns after his death. He reigns two years and does evil. An officer named Pekah assassinates him and becomes king. Pekah reigns twenty years and loses part of Israel to Assyria. Hoshea kills Pekah and becomes king.
In Judah, Jotham rules well. He rebuilds the Upper Gate of the temple, and his son Ahaz succeeds him.

Chapter 16
Ahaz rules sixteen years in Jerusalem. He does evil. He pays the ruler of Assyria with all the valuable and sacred things in the temple. The Assyrians leave Judah alone and attack their enemies. Ahaz tries to integrate an altar he patterns after an Assyrian altar ino the temple worship. Ahaz dies and is succeeded by his son, Hezekiah.

Chapter 17
During Hoshea's reign in Israel, Assyria invades, conquers, and deports the Israelites to Assyria. Israel is exiled in judgment of their persistent rebellion against God. The Assyrian king resettles Israel with people from other areas. Initially, those people are judged for not worshipping God, but Assyria's king sends a priest to show the people how to worship God. They begin worhipping God, but they continue worshipping their gods as well. This does not change.

Chapter 18
Hezekiah reigns in Judah. He does right in God's eyes, and he is successful militarily as well. Sennacherib of Assyria attacks Judah. Hezekiah pays him to go away. Assyria threatens to capture Judah and speaks disrepectfully of God in the process. Hezekiah is told of the Assyrian boasts and threats by his administrators who have torn their clothes.

Chapter 19
Hezekiah also tears his clothes. He sends his leaders to Isaiah to inquire of God and cry for mercy from Him. Isaiah prophecies death for the Assyrian ruler. The leader of Assyria sends a letter to Hezekiah still boasting of his coming victory. Hezekiah takes it to the temple and lays it before God. Isaiah predicts Sennacherib's fall. God tells of coming freedom and blessing for Judah. The angel of the Lord kills 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib leaves and after returning home, he is killed by his sons while worshipping his god.

Chapter 20
Hezekiah gets sick, and Isaiah tells him he is about to die. Hezekiah cries out for more time to live. God hears him and heals him. He gives him fifteen more years. Isaiah tells Hezekiah, and Hezekiah asks for a sign. He requests for the sun's shadow to go backwards. It does. Hezekiah shows Babylonian ambassadors all his kingdom and treasures. Isaiah prophecies that Babylon will one day take it all along with the people. Hezekiah is just glad it won't be while he is alive.

Chapter 21
Hezekiah dies, and his son, Manasseh rules. He does evil and brings back much of what his father destroyed. He did much evil. God proclaims judgment because of the great sin of Manasseh and the persistent sin of Judah. Manasseh dies, and his son, Amon, succeeds him as king. He reigns two years. He does evil like his father. Amon's servants conspire against him and kill him. They make Josiah, his son, king in his place.

Chapter 22
Josiah does right. He begins rebuilding the temple. In the midst of the rebuilding of the temple, the book of the law is found. Once it is read to the king, he grieves and humbles himself and seeks God. God confirms that judgment is indeed coming to Judah, but God promises mercy during Josiah's lifetime for his tender heart and humility regarding God's judgment.

Chapter 23
Josiah reads the book of the covenant to all the people. He carries out a wide and thorough reform throughout Judah and purges the many foreign gods and places of worship. He even defiles the high places which had been used for many generations. He also destroyed the golden calves and altars of Jeroboam in ways that fulfill prophecy. He honors the grave of the prophet who condemned the altars. He reinstitutes the Passover, clears the land of mediums, spiritists, and those who practive the occult. He turned to the Lord more than any king before or after him, but God still did not relent regarding his coming judgment. Josiah is killed by Pharoah and is succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz. He only reigned three months. He did evil, and he was captured and imprisoned by Pharoah. Pharoah makes Jehoiakim(another of Josiah's sons) the king. He did evil also.

Chapter 24
Jehoiakim becomes Nebuchadnezzar's servant for three years and then rebels. Soon after this, he dies. Jehoiakim's son, Jehoiachin becomes king. He does evil and reigns three months and is taken captive to Babylon. Many were led into exile from Judah during this time. Zedekiah is made king. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. Zedekiah rebels against the king of Babylon.

Chapter 25
Nebuchadnezzar(king of Babylon) carries out retribution for Zedekiah's rebellion and brutally attacks, burns, and plunders Judah. Gedaliah is appointed to rule the few that are left, and he is killed seven months later by a man named Ishmael. This causes many to flee back to Egypt. Jehoiachin, the captive king, is released from prison and given a seat of honor with the new king of Babylon, Evil-merodach.