The First Book of the Kings The First Book of the Chronicles


The Second Book of Kings contains the history of 308 years, from the rebellion of Moab to the ruin of the kingdom of Judah. The history, on the whole, exhibits little less than a series of crimes, disasters, divine benefits, and divine judgments. In the kingdom of Judah we meet with a few kings who feared God, and promoted the interests of pure religion in the land; but the major part were idolaters and profligates of the highest order.

The kingdom of Israel was still more corrupt. All its kings were determined idolaters; profligate, vicious, and cruel tyrants. Elijah and Elisha stood up in the behalf of God and truth in this fallen, idolatrous kingdom, and bore a strong testimony against the corruptions of the princes and the profligency of the people. Their powerful ministry was confined to the ten tribes; Judah had its own prophets, and those in considerable number.

At length the avenging hand of God fell first upon Israel, and afterwards upon Judah. Israel, after many convulsions, torn by domestic and foreign wars, was at length wholly subjugated by the king of Assyria, the people led away into captivity, and the land repeopled by strangers.

The kingdom of Judah continued some time longer, but was at last overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah, its last king, was taken prisoner; his eyes put out; and the principal part of the people were carried into captivity, which lasted about seventy years. There was after this a partial restoration of the Jews, but they never more rose to any consequence among the nations; and at last their civil polity was finally dissolved by the Romans, and their Temple burned, AD 70; and from that time until now they became fugitives and vagabonds over the face of the earth.

2 Kings 1:1. Who Were the Moabites Who "Rebelled against Israel after the Death of Ahab"?

The Moabites occupied the territory east of the Dead Sea. They were the descendants of Lot (see Genesis 19:37.) Years earlier David had conquered them and their distant relatives the Ammonites, who were also descendants of Lot and who occupied a territory just north of Moab. The Moabites now saw an opportunity to break connection with the Israelites, and they were determined to make the most of it. Their king, a man named Mesha, was so proud of the Moabites' rebellion that he wrote about it on a large black stone that has been discovered by archeologists. More details of the rebellion are found on this stone than are recorded in the Bible. Mesha recorded on the stone the account of hundreds of cities being added to his kingdom and how he built reservoirs, aqueducts, and fortifications.

2 Kings 1:3. Who Is Baalzebub?

"This name for Satan signifies his position as the prince or chief of the devils. It is the same name (Baalzebub) as was given to an ancient heathen god. (2 Kings 1:3.) In their rebellion against light, the ancient Jews applied the name Beelzebub to Christ (Matt. 10:25), and also said that he cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub. (Matt. 12:22-30.)" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 75.)

2 Kings 1:3-4. What message did Elijah deliver to the king's servants?

2 Kings 1:8. Elijah's Description

The statement that Elijah "was a hairy man" refers to the fact that the prophet was dressed in a rough garment, probably made of either goat's or camel's hair. Perhaps he actually wore an animal's skin with the hair still on it (see Hebrews 11:37).

2 Kings 1:9-10. What happened when the captain and his fifty went to get Elijah?

2 Kings 1:9-14. Was It an Act of Cruelty to Destroy These Soldiers?

"Some have blamed the prophet for destroying these men, by bringing down fire from heaven upon them. But they do not consider that it was no more possible for Elijah to bring down fire from heaven, than for them to do it. God alone could send the fire; and as he is just and good, he would not have destroyed these men had there not been a sufficient cause to justify the act. It was not to please Elijah, or to gratify any vindictive humour in him, that God thus acted; but to show his own power and justice. No entreaty of Elijah could have induced God to have performed an act that was wrong in itself. Elijah, personally, had no concern in the business. God led him simply to announce on these occasions what he himself had determined to do. If I be a man of God, i.e., as surely as I am a man of God, fire shall come down from heaven, and shall consume thee and thy fifty. This is the literal meaning of the original; and by it we see that Elijah's words were only declarative, and not imprecatory." (Clarke, Commentary, 2:482.)

2 Kings 1:11-12. What happened when the second captain and his fifty went to get Elijah?

2 Kings 1:13-15. What happened when the third captain and his fifty went to get Elijah?

2 Kings 1:16. Why was Ahaziah, the king of Israel, to die?

2 Kings 1:17. Who replaced Ahaziah as king of Israel?

2 Kings 1:17. Jehoram and Jehoram

There were two Jehorams who were contemporaries: Jehoram, son of Ahab, in the Northern Kingdom; and Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, in the Southern Kingdom.

2 Kings 2:9. What did Elisha ask of Elijah?

2 Kings 2:10. How would Elisha know if his request would be granted?

2 Kings 2:11. How was Elijah taken away?

2 Kings 2:11. Was Elijah Really Taken into Heaven?

The term heaven has more than one meaning. Sometimes it is used to mean the sky; at other times it refers to the celestial glory. Elijah was taken from this earth as a translated being, but not into celestial glory. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

"Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead. 'Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.' (see Hebrews 11:35.)

"Now it was evident that there was a better resurrection, or else God would not have revealed it unto Paul. Wherein then, can it be said a better resurrection. This distinction is made between the doctrine of the actual resurrection and translation: translation obtains deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of the body, but their existence will prolong as to the labors and toils of the ministry, before they can enter into so great a rest and glory." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 170-71.)

2 Kings 2:14. Elijah's Mantle

Elijah's cloak, or mantle, was a symbol of his authority. Possession of it symbolized that Elijah's former authority now rested on Elisha. (See Notes and Commentary on 1 Kings 19:19.)

2 Kings 2:15. How was Elisha received by the sons of the prophets?

2 Kings 2:19-22. What did Elisha do to the waters at Jericho?

2 Kings 2:20. Does Salt Purify Water?

The use of salt makes this a greater miracle, since salt normally corrupts rather than purifies water.

2 Kings 2:23-24. What happened to those who mocked Elisha the prophet? (See 2 Kings 2:23a)

2 Kings 2:23-24. Should Elisha Be Blamed for the Death of These "Children"?

In answering this question consider the following interpretations:

1. The word that in the King James Version is translated "little children" means young as compared to old, and can be translated not only as child, but as young man, meaning a servant or one fit to go out to battle.

2. In verse 24 the idea ends. This ending is indicated by a period after "and cursed them in the name of the Lord.” The verse then states that two she bears came out of the woods. The assumption that Elisha directed the bears may not be justified. Clarke suggested: "But is it not possible that these forty-two were a set of unlucky young men, who had been employed in the wood, destroying the whelps of these same she-bears, who now pursued them, and tore them to pieces, for the injury they had done? We have already heard of the ferocity of a bear robbed of her whelps; see at the end of [2 Samuel chap. 17]. The mention of she-bears gives some colour to the above conjecture; and, probably, at the time when these young fellows insulted the prophet, the bears might be tracing the footsteps of the murderers of their young, and thus came upon them in the midst of their insults, God's providence ordering these occurrences so as to make this natural effect appear as a Divine cause. If the conjecture be correct, the bears were prepared by their loss to execute the curse of the prophet, and God's justice guided them to the spot to punish the iniquity that had been just committed." (Commentary, 2:486.)

2 Kings 3:1-3. What did Jehoram, king of Israel, do in the sight of the Lord?

2 Kings 3:4-7. What did he ask Jehoshaphat to help him do? Why?

2 Kings 3:11. With whom did Jehoshaphat want to speak? Why?

2 Kings 3:11. What Was the Meaning of Elisha's Pouring "Water on the Hands of Elijah"?

In the East a servant pours water over the hands of his master after each meal so he can clean them. The expression merely indicates that Elisha was the servant and disciple of Elijah (see James M. Freeman, Manners and Customs of the Bible, pp. 169-70).2 Kings 3:11-15. Why Was Elisha Upset?

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, desired the advice of a true prophet of God before he went into battle because he was a follower of Jehovah. The kings went to the prophet Elisha, who was irritated by the presence of Jehoram, king of Israel. Elisha sarcastically advised him to seek the counsel of the false prophets of his father (see v. 13).

A minstrel, or harpist, was then called to soothe Elisha before he complied with King Jehoshaphat's request to seek the Lord's direction. It seems ironic that even though they were not willing to follow Elisha's counsel, they were anxious to have his blessing on their endeavor.

2 Kings 3:16-19. What was the message of the Lord?

2 Kings 3:19. Besides in Actual Combat, How Was Israel to Destroy Her Enemies?

The prophet Elisha commanded Israel to do three things as they went through the land of Moab: (1) cut down all trees that could be used to build fortifications (see Deuteronomy 20:19-20 for the justification of this practice); (2) destroy the wells that provided the life-giving waters of the land; and (3) throw rocks on the fields. A large army passing through an area could quickly cover the land with rocks. It would then take months of hard work to uncover the land so crops could again be grown. The reasoning was that the defeated enemy would have to spend its labor in recovering from war rather than in preparing to wage it again.

2 Kings 3:20-24. Why Was Moab Deceived?

"On hearing the report of the march of the allied kings, Moab had raised all the men that were capable of bearing arms, and stationed them on the frontier. In the morning, when the sun had risen above the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite to them like blood, and said: 'That is blood: the (allied) kings have destroyed themselves and smitten one another; and now to the spoil, Moab!' Coming with this expectation to the Israelitish camp, they were received by the allies, who were ready for battle, and put to flight. The divine help consisted, therefore, not in a miracle which surpassed the laws of nature, but simply in the fact that the Lord God, as He had predicted through His prophet, caused the forces of nature ordained by Him to work in the predetermined manner ...

"From the reddish earth of the freshly dug trenches the water collected in them had acquired a reddish colour, which was considerably intensified by the rays of the rising sun, so that when seen from a distance it resembled blood. The Moabites, however, were the less likely to entertain the thought of an optical delusion, from the fact that with their accurate acquaintance with the country they knew very well that there was no water in the wady at that time, and they had neither seen nor heard anything of the rain which had fallen at a great distance off in the Edomitish mountains. The thought was therefore a natural one, that the water was blood, and that the cause of the blood could only have been that their enemies had massacred one another, more especially as the jealousy between Israel and Judah was not unknown to them, and they could have no doubt that Edom had only come with them as a forced ally." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 3:1:305-6.)

2 Kings 3:26-27. Why Did the Moabite King Offer His Son As a Sacrifice?

The king of Moab made a desperate attempt to flee the city because of its imminent destruction. But his flight was stopped by the Edomites, and he was forced back into the city. When his attempted flight failed, the king offered his firstborn son, who would have succeeded him, as a burnt offering. Chemosh, god of the Moabites, was frequently offered human sacrifice to appease his anger. This custom may have prompted the Moabite king in this case.

With the death of the heir, Israel lifted their siege and departed, perhaps feeling that Moab’s power as a nation had ended. This feeling, however, was a mistake (see 2 Kings 13:20).

2 Kings 3:27. What did the king of Moab do to his eldest son?

2 Kings 4:1-7. How did Elisha help the widow pay her debts?

2 Kings 4:1-7. How Could Debts Be Paid?

Anciently, when one was unable to meet a legal debt, one could bind out one's sons as servants to satisfy the obligation (see Leviticus 25:39-40). If a thief could not restore what he had stolen, he could be sold to square a debt (see Exodus 22:3). Sometimes creditors would even take children from their parents and sell them into slavery to pay a debt (see Nehemiah 5:5, 8). The custom of paying off a debt through servitude was apparently still practiced in the days of Jesus, for the Savior referred to it in one of his parables (see Matthew 18:25).

2 Kings 4:10. What Is a "Chamber ... on the Wall"?

"The aliyah, 'chamber, is an upper room of an Eastern house, being sometimes built on the roof, and sometimes making a second story to the porch, to which it has access by stairs. It is hence called in 2 Sam. xviii, 33, 'the chamber over the gate' ... In the text it is called a chamber 'in the wall,' probably because its window, opening to the street, made a break in the dead wall, and was thus about the only evidence to an outside spectator of the existence of rooms in the house. It is usually well furnished, and kept as a room for the entertainment of honored guests." (Freeman, Manners and Customs of the Bible, p. 171.)

2 Kings 4:8-11. What did the Shunammite woman do for Elisha?

2 Kings 4:8-17. A Faithful Woman Rewarded

Those who receive the servants of the Lord also receive Him (see D&C 84:36). The Shunammite woman showed her love for God by her kindness to His chosen servant Elisha. She, in turn, was assured that she would be blessed with a child. Like the widow who helped Elijah, she received a special blessing from the prophet.

2 Kings 4:15-17. How was she rewarded for her service?

2 Kings 4:16. Did the Shunammite Woman Doubt the Promise Made to Her?

The woman's response to Elisha's promise of a child is not one of doubt but one of hope. In essence she was saying, "Let not your words be a lie," or "Let your words come true."

2 Kings 4:17-44. Miracles Performed by Elisha

These verses recount three great miracles Elisha performed through the power of the priesthood. First, he raised from the dead the son of the Shunammite woman who had shown so much kindness to him. Second, he blessed food that was bitter and inedible and made it whole, or good. And third, he multiplied a small number of loaves of barley bread and ears of corn to feed many people.

Many features of Elisha's ministry parallel those of the Savior's. He truly was a type of the Messiah, as Elijah had been before him.

2 Kings 4:23. Why Did the Husband Question His Wife about the Day on Which She Went to See Elisha?

"The Shunammite's husband did not connect his wife's proposed visit to the prophet with the death of his child, but with some religious duty. The new moon (i.e. the first day of the month) and the sabbath were feasts at which the prophets might be asked to preside, as Samuel did at the feast held at the high place of Ramah [see 1 Samuel 9:12-13]." (J. R. Dummelow, ed., A Commentary on the Holy Bible, p. 231.)

2 Kings 4:29-36. How was her son healed?

2 Kings 4:38-41. What did Elisha do to the deadly pottage?

2 Kings 5:1. List six things we learn about Naaman.

Naaman was a great warrior and appears to have been a very good man, for "by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria" from the Assyrians. He was captain of the entire army of the Syrians, but he was plagued with leprosy. Leprosy, which has been called the living death, is any of a variety of chronic skin diseases. Its most mild form is characterized by skin that is scaly with reddish patches. In the most extreme cases of leprosy, the flesh actually falls off the bone. The law of Moses required that those afflicted with it live apart from society (see Leviticus 13:46). It is not known how severe Naaman's leprosy was.

2 Kings 5:2-19. The Miraculous Healing of Naaman, the Syrian Leader

Learning from an Israelite girl in his household that there was a prophet in Samaria who could heal him, Naaman asked the king of Syria for a letter to introduce him to Jehoram, king of Israel. However, Jehoram's response, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive?" (v. 7), shows that he immediately saw the difficult situation Naaman's request put him in. Jehoram was saying, in essence, "Only God can perform such miracles." If Jehoram sent him to Elisha and the prophet failed to heal him, the situation could cause a difficult rift between Israel and Syria. Perhaps, if Naaman were not healed, Jehoshaphat would grow angry and declare war on Jehoram.

When Elisha learned of the distress of the king of Israel, he sent for Naaman. Elisha tested Naaman's faith by telling him to wash in the Jordan seven times. Though skeptical at first, Naaman complied because of the persuasion of his servants, and he was made whole.

2 Kings 5:3-6. Why did Naaman go to Israel?

2 Kings 5:8. What message did Elisha send to the king of Israel?

2 Kings 5:10. What message did Elisha send to Naaman?

2 Kings 5:11-12. How did Naaman react? Why?

2 Kings 5:14. What happened to Naaman when he washed in the River Jordan?

2 Kings 5:15-16, 20-26. Why Did Elisha Refuse Gifts from Naaman?

Elisha refused the gifts Naaman offered for his use of God's power, but Gehazi did not. The temptation to use priesthood power for personal gain has plagued man throughout history (see for example the account of Balaam in Jude 1:11and the account of Nehor in Alma 1). Nephi called such employment priestcraft and said it is forbidden by the Lord (see 2 Nephi 26:29-31). Paul suggested that if one charged for his service in the priesthood, he would abuse his power in the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 9:18). And Jesus taught His ministering servants, "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). It is, after all, by divine power that men are able to perform priesthood miracles.

Elisha understood this truth perfectly, but Gehazi saw a chance for personal gain slipping away and let his greed overpower his good judgment.

2 Kings 5:17-19. Why Did Naaman Carry Soil Back with Him?

"It is very evident from Naaman's explanation, 'for thy servant,' etc., that he wanted to take a load of earth with him out of the land of Israel, that he might be able to offer sacrifice upon it to the God of Israel, because he was still a slave to the polytheistic superstition, that no god could be worshipped in a proper and acceptable manner except in his own land, or upon an altar built of the earth of his own land. And because Naaman's knowledge of God was still adulterated with superstition, he was not yet prepared to make an unreserved confession before men of his faith in Jehovah as the only true God, but hoped that Jehovah would forgive him if he still continued to join outwardly in the worship of idols, so far as his official duty required." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 3:1:320.)

Elisha told Naaman to go in peace, evidently accepting the sincerity of his conversion, even though Naaman obviously had more to learn about the true God.

2 Kings 5:20-24. What did Gehazi do after Naaman left Elisha?

2 Kings 5:25-27. What happened to Gehazi?

2 Kings 5:26. What Was the Significance of Elisha's Question: "Is It a Time to Receive Money?"

Keil and Delitzsch noted that Elisha was asking, "Is this the time, when so many hypocrites pretend to be prophets from selfishness and avarice, and bring the prophetic office into contempt with unbelievers, for a servant of the true God to take money and goods from a non-Israelite for that which God has done through him, that he may acquire property and luxury for himself? … It was not too harsh a punishment that the leprosy taken from Naaman on account of his faith in the living God, should pass to Gehazi on account of his departure from the true God. For it was not his avarice [greed] only that was to be punished, but the abuse of the prophet's name for the purpose of carrying out his selfish purpose, and his misrepresentation of the prophet." (Commentary, 3:1:322–23.)

2 Kings 6:1-7. Why Did Elisha Perform This Miracle?

The scarcity of iron and its great value were not sufficient reason to perform such a miracle. "The prophet's powers were exerted to help one who was honest enough to be the more concerned for his loss because the axe was not his own" (Dummelow, Commentary, p. 232).

2 Kings 6:8-9. What message did Elisha send to the king of Israel?

2 Kings 6:8-23. The Lord's Host

Syria attacked Israel several times but was always defeated. When it finally came to the attention of the king of Syria that his soldiers were losing because of the prophetic power of Elisha, he sent a large army to destroy Elisha. The Syrian army located Elisha in Dotham (see v. 13) where they surrounded the city so he could not escape. The next morning Elisha's servant, realizing the precarious situation they were in, said to his master, "How shall we do?" (v. 15.) Elisha asked the Lord to let his servant see that "they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (v. 16). Elisha's servant was then allowed to see the Lord's host that had been sent to protect them. (For other examples of the Lord's host, see Joshua 5:13-15; History of the Church, 2:381-83.)

2 Kings 6:15-17. What did Elisha say when her servant saw the Syrian army?

2 Kings 6:18-20. What happened to the Syrian army that came for Elisha?

2 Kings 6:22-23. What did Elisha tell the king of Israel to do to the army?

2 Kings 6:23. What was the result of feeding the Syrians and letting them go?

2 Kings 6:23-24. Was There Peace or War between Syria and Israel?

Josephus explained the apparent contradiction between these two verses: "Now when these men were come back, and had showed Ben-hadad how strange an accident had befallen them, and what an appearance and power they had experienced of the God of Israel, he wondered at it, as also at that prophet with whom God was so evidently present; so he determined to make no more secret attempts upon the king of Israel, out of fear of Elisha, but resolved to make open war with them, as supposing he could be too hard for his enemies by the multitude of his army and power." (Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 9, chap. 4, par. 4.)

2 Kings 6:24-29. Scarcity of Food in Samaria

Instead of trying to take Samaria by force, the king of Syria surrounded it and attempted to starve its inhabitants. The severity of the famine is attested to by this verse. The ass was an unclean animal (see Leviticus 11) and was not to be eaten by an Israelite. The head of an animal was also the most inedible part. To eat bird dung for what little nutritional value there was in it also graphically illustrates the severity of the siege. A cab of dove dung would be a little less than two quarts. A fourth part, then, would be about one pint. (See Dummelow, Commentary, p. 232.)

Eventually the famine became so severe that some even resorted to cannibalism (see vv. 28-29). Like Ahab, who had blamed Elijah and sought his life (see 1 Kings 18:17–18), King Jehoram refused to see that his own actions had caused Israel's problems. Instead, he blamed Elisha and tried to kill him.

2 Kings 6:27. What Does the Expression "out of the Barnfloor, or out of the Winepress" Mean?

The king of Israel was simply saying that he could not provide food or drink.

2 Kings 7:1-2. What did Elisha prophesy would happen?

2 Kings 7:6-7. Why did the Syrians flee?

2 Kings 7:7-8. What did they leave behind?

2 Kings 7:16-20. How was Elisha's prophecy fulfilled?

2 Kings 8:1. Why did Elisha tell the Shunammite woman to leave?

2 Kings 8:3-6. What did the king grant her upon her return?

2 Kings 8:7-15. Prophecy to Hazael and Ben-hadad

It is probable that more than one king of Syria bore the name Ben-hadad. The name means "son of Hadad" (J. D. Douglas, ed., The New Bible Dictionary, s.v. "Ben-hadad").

The Syrian leaders were well acquainted with the prophet Elisha, for they knew of Naaman's miraculous healing. They also remembered Elisha's leading a contingent of the Syrian army into captivity single-handedly and then releasing them (see 2 Kings 6:18-23). Ben-hadad's reaction, when he heard that Elisha was in Damascus, was one of jubilation. Perhaps the prophet of God would tell him whether he would recover from his disease.

Verse 9 indicates that the gifts Ben-hadad sent with Hazael to Elisha were not just a token gesture. It took forty camels to carry them. Elisha informed Hazael (see v. 10) that the disease the king was suffering from was not fatal, but he would die by other means. Elisha knew the heart of Hazael and the evil he would cause, for the wicked cannot look unashamedly into the piercing eye of the righteous (see v. 11). Upon his return Hazael smothered Ben-hadad and became the king. He ruled Syria for forty-two harsh and brutal years in which he did Israel much harm, fulfilling Elisha's prophecy.

2 Kings 8:9. What did Hazael deliver to Elisha as a present from Ben-hadad, king of Syria?

2 Kings 8:10. What message did Elisha give Hazael?

2 Kings 8:11-13. Why did Elisha weep?

2 Kings 8:14-15. How did Ben-hadad die?

2 Kings 8:16. Who reigned in Judah after Jehoshaphat?

2 Kings 8:16-23. Jehoram, King of Judah

Jehoram, king of Judah, married Athaliah, who was the daughter of Ahab, king of Israel, and Jezebel. She, like her mother, was an evil woman who worshiped the gods of Baal, and she helped corrupt the Southern Kingdom of Judah as her mother had done the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Because of the wickedness of Jehoram, the Lord would not support him during his administration, and he was greatly afflicted. Edom revolted, as did Libnah, against his rule. Libnah was a royal city of the Canaanites that had first been conquered by Joshua. Jehoram probably lost Libnah at the time the Philistines attacked Judah and plundered Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 21:16-17). Jehoram finally died of a terrible disease (see 2 Chronicles 21:18-20).

2 Kings 8:18. What did Jehoram, king of Judah, do "in the sight of the Lord"? (2 Kings 8:18)

2 Kings 8:26. Was Athaliah the Daughter of Omri?

Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab, who was the son of Omri (see 2 Chronicles 21:6). "The terms 'son' and 'daughter' were used not only of remote descendants but even of successors who were not blood relations" (Dummelow, Commentary, p. 233). The phrase here means that Athaliah was of the Omride dynasty.

2 Kings 8:26-27. Why did Ahaziah, king of Judah, do evil "in the sight of the Lord"? (v. 27)

2 Kings 9:1-3. What did Elisha send "one of the children of the prophets" to do? (2 Kings 9:1)

2 Kings 9:1-13. Why Was Jehu Anointed King?

One of the last commissions the Lord gave Elijah was to anoint Jehu as king of Israel (see 1 Kings 19:16). Elisha now carried out that commission for Elijah. The purpose of Jehu's reign was, according to verse 7, to completely destroy the house, or family, of the wicked Ahab and Jezebel. Notice the prophecy about Jezebel in verse 10. The young man Elisha sent to deliver this message and anoint Jehu was probably a priesthood bearer.

Verse 13 describes a special ceremony in which a man was acknowledged king. Those present laid their cloaks down at his feet as a symbol of their loyalty and recognition of his authority.

2 Kings 9:5-10. What did the messenger tell Jehu?

2 Kings 9:14-26. Vineyard of Naboth

Jehu met King Joram and King Ahaziah in the vineyard called Naboth (see v. 21). This was the very vineyard that Jezebel had obtained by murdering Naboth. This was also the exact spot where Elijah had appeared to Ahab years before and prophesied that his posterity would one day be exterminated (see 1 Kings 21:21-23). That day had come.

Jehu's being anointed by Elisha's servant to be king and the prophecy of his brutal destruction of the house of Omri should not be construed to mean that the Lord commanded Jehu to do these things. The prophet simply foresaw what would happen, but Jehu himself was a wicked man (see 2 Kings 10:31), although he was a means for destroying the wickedness out of Israel.

2 Kings 9:22-25. What did Jehu do to Jehoram, king of Israel?

2 Kings 9:27-28. What happened to Ahaziah, king of Judah?

2 Kings 9:30-37. Death of Jezebel

"Jezebel [painted her face] that she might present an imposing appearance to Jehu and die as a queen; not to allure him by her charms ... For (ver. 31) when Jehu entered the palace gate, she cried out to him, 'Is it peace, thou Zimri, murderer of his lord?' She addressed Jehu as Zimri the murderer of the king, to point to the fate which Jehu would bring upon himself by the murder of the king, as Zimri had already done [vv. 32-33]. But Jehu did not deign to answer the worthless woman; he simply looked up to the window and inquired: 'Who is (holds) with me? who?' Then two, three chamberlains looked out (of the side windows), and by Jehu's command threw the proud queen out of the window, so that some of her blood spurted upon the wall and the horses (of Jehu), and Jehu trampled her down, driving over her with his horses and chariot." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 3:1:345.)

The death of Jezebel fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah (see 1 Kings 21:23).

2 Kings 9:32-37. What happened to Jezebel?

2 Kings 10:1-6. Were the Seventy Sons Ahab's Children?

By this time Ahab had been dead fourteen years. Some of the seventy sons mentioned in verse 6 could have been Ahab's; however, sons as used in these verses could also mean grandsons of Ahab. Master's sons, as used in verse 2, is an obvious reference to the sons of Joram.

Jehu wanted to kill all the sons or grandsons of Ahab who were part of the royal line and therefore heirs to the throne of Israel.

2 Kings 10:6-7. What did Jehu require of the leaders of Samaria in the second letter?

2 Kings 10:11, 17. What did Jehu do to the house of Ahab?

2 Kings 10:13. Who Were the Brethren of Ahaziah?

Brethren, as used in this verse, could not be a reference to the actual brothers of Ahaziah because the Philistines had taken them in a battle many years before (see 2 Chronicles 21:17). It is, however, a reference to the relative of Ahaziah who lived in the royal household (see 2 Chronicles 22:8).

2 Kings 10:18-28. Why did Jehu gather the followers of Baal together?

2 Kings 10:29. What evil did Jehu fail to destroy?

2 Kings 10:30-31. How Pleased Was the Lord with Jehu?

"Jehu is promised the possession of the throne to the fourth generation of his sons for having exterminated the godless royal house of Ahab ... The divine sentence, 'because thou hast acted well to do right in mine eyes, (because thou) hast done as it was in my heart to the house of Ahab,' refers to the deed as such, and not to the subjective motives by which Jehu had been actuated. For it is obvious that it had not sprung from pure zeal for the honour of the Lord, from the limitation added in ver. 31: 'but Jehu did not take heed to walk in the law of Jehovah with all his heart, and did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam.' -- Vers. 32, 33." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 3:1:354-55.) In other words, the house of Omri had reached such a state of wickedness that it deserved destruction. Jehu was the means of bringing about the Lord's will in this regard, but that does not mean the Lord was pleased with his brutal methods or his wickedness.

2 Kings 10:35. Who replaced Jehu as king of Israel?

2 Kings 11:1. What did Athaliah do when she learned that her son Ahaziah was dead?

2 Kings 11:4-8. What did Jehoiada the priest command the rulers and captains to do?

2 Kings 11:15-16. What happened to Athaliah?

2 Kings 11:17. What covenant did Jehoiada make?

2 Kings 11:18. What happened to the house of Baal?

2 Kings 11:21. How old was Joash when he began to reign over Judah? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 638, s.v. "Chronology")

2 Kings 12:1-16. Why Did Jehoash Take Away the Collection from the Priests?

The account in Kings is a little difficult to follow, and it is not clear what exactly is happening. But the parallel account in 2 Chronicles 24:4-14 is more clearly written. Under Athaliah, Solomon’s temple had been vandalized and images of Baal set up within it. It seems to have been in a poor state of repair, and the king decided to take up a collection from the people to restore it. He gave the priests charge of this fund-raising, but "the Levites hastened it not" (2 Chronicles 24:5). In other words, they did not carry out their task very successfully. Therefore King Jehoash took the responsibility away from them (see 2 Kings 12:7-8). Instead, he set up a chest within the temple courtyard into which the people put money. He had his scribes collect it each day and used it to pay the workmen on the project.

2 Kings 12:2. What did Joash do "in the sight of the Lord"? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 713, s.v. "Joash (3)")

2 Kings 12:5-6. What did Joash ask the priests to repair? (See also 2 Kings 12:6)

2 Kings 12:17-18. Why did Hazael, king of Syria, depart from Jerusalem?

2 Kings 12:20-21. What happened to Joash?

2 Kings 12:20-21. Why Did the Servants of Jehoash Murder Him?

When Jehoash turned to idolatry, the Lord sent prophets to testify against him and to call the people of Judah to repentance. One such prophet was Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoash had him killed along with the other sons of Jehoiada. Because Jehoash had murdered the sons of Jehoiada, some of his own servants slew him while he lay on his bed (see 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, 25-26).

2 Kings 12:21. Who reigned in his stead?

2 Kings 13:1-2, 4. What did Jehoahaz, king of Israel and son of Jehu, do "in the sight of the Lord"? (2 Kings 13:2)

2 Kings 13:1-9. Jehoahaz, King of Israel

Josephus wrote the following about this king who ruled in the Northern Kingdom at the same time Jehoash ruled in Judah: "He did not [properly] imitate his father, but was guilty of as wicked practices as those that first had God in contempt: but the king of Syria [Hazael] brought him low, and by an expedition against him did so greatly reduce his forces, that there remained no more of so great an army than ten thousand armed men, and fifty horsemen. He also took away from him his great cities, and many of them also, and destroyed his army. And these were the things that the people of Israel suffered, according to the prophecy of Elisha, when he foretold that Hazael should kill his master, and reign over the Syrians and Damascenes. But when Jehoahaz was under such unavoidable miseries, he had recourse to prayer and supplication to God, and besought him to deliver him out of the hands of Hazael, and not overlook him, and give him up into his hands." (Antiquities, bk. 9, chap. 8, par. 5.)

2 Kings 13:3. Into whose hands was Israel delivered?

2 Kings 13:4-6. Who Was the "Savior" That Delivered Israel from Syria?

The narrative here is difficult to follow because the historian continually moves ahead of the circumstances he is discussing. He could do so because he was writing many years later.

The Lord’s response to Jehoahaz’s prayer promised a Savior to deliver Israel from the Syrians. Because the title of Savior is associated with Jesus, some may think the Lord was promising a deliverer, but all that was being promised was deliverance. Deliverance from Hazael, king of Syria, and later his son, Ben-hadad, was to come through the son and grandson of Jehoahaz. Keil and Delitzsch explained: “In this oppression Jehoahaz prayed to the Lord ... and the Lord heard this prayer, because He saw their oppression at the hands of the Syrians, and gave Israel a saviour, so that they came out from the power of the Syrians and dwelt in their booths again, as before, i.e. were able to live peaceably again in their houses, without being driven off and led away by the foe. The saviour ... was neither an angel, nor the prophet Elisha, ... nor a victory obtained by Jehoahaz over the Syrians, ... but the Lord gave them the savior in the two successors of Jehoahaz, in the kings Jehoash and Jeroboam, the former of whom wrested from the Syrians all the cities that had been conquered by them under his father (ver. 25), while the latter restored the ancient boundaries of Israel (ch. xiv. 25). According to vers. 22-25, the oppression by the Syrians lasted as long as Jehoahaz lived; but after his death the Lord had compassion upon Israel, and after the death of Hazael, when his son Ben-hadad had become king, Jehoash recovered from Ben-hadad all the Israelitish cities that had been taken by Syrians.” (Commentary, 3:1:375.)

The Jehoash mentioned here is not the same Jehoash who was king of Judah (discussed in Notes and Commentary on 2 Kings 11; 2 Kings 12; 2 Kings 12:1-16). There were two kings by the same name. Jehoash who became king of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was the son of Jehoahaz and helped deliver Israel from the Syrians. The other Jehoash, also called Joash, was the one hid by the priests in Judah when Athaliah had the royal seed killed (see 2 Kings 11:1-3). He became king of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, at the age of seven and ruled for forty years.

2 Kings 13:10-11. What did Jehoash, king of Israel, do "in the sight of the Lord"? (v. 11)

2 Kings 13:13. Who replaced Jehoash as king of Israel?

2 Kings 13:14. Who visited Elisha when he was sick?

2 Kings 13:14-20. Death of Elisha

These verses record the death of Elisha. Jehoash, king of Israel, sought the prophet before his death, perhaps feeling that Elisha alone held the key to Israel’s future safety. Elisha responded by inviting Jehoash to open a window and shoot an arrow toward the east. The arrow symbolized the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from the Syrians. Elisha also told the king to shoot some arrows into the ground, which he did. "The shooting of the arrows to the earth was intended to symbolize the overthrow of the Syrians" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 3:1:377). The king shot only three arrows. For this Elisha chastised him, saying that had Jehoash shot five or six times he would “have smitten the Syrians to destruction” (2 Kings 13:19).

2 Kings 13:17-19. What did Elisha prophesy to Jehoash, king of Israel?

2 Kings 14:1-3. What did Amaziah do "in the sight of the Lord"? (2 Kings 14:3)

2 Kings 14:3-11. Was Amaziah a Righteous King?

Second Chronicles 25:2 comments that Amaziah’s heart was not perfect in what he did. This is a way of saying he was double-minded, an attitude that makes bad the good things that are done. His instability is shown in (1) his failure to eliminate the high places used for worship of false gods; (2) his desire to make war with the help of enemies; and (3) his failure to heed Joash’s warning.

2 Kings 14:5. What did Amaziah do to those who had slain his father? (See also 2 Kings 12:20-21)

2 Kings 14:7. Why Did Amaziah Attack Edom?

The kingdom of Judah had controlled Edom and exacted tribute from that kingdom since the days of King David. In the days of King Joram, however, Edom revolted (see 2 Kings 8:20). Amaziah raised a large army and again made Edom subordinate to Judah.

2 Kings 14:8-14. Why Did Amaziah Want to Look King Joash in the Face?

To "look one another in the face" is a Hebrew idiom for going to war with one another. Although in the version here no explanation is given for why Amaziah asked for war, the parallel version in Chronicles explains what occurred (see 2 Chronicles 25:1-13). As he was strengthening his army for the war with the Edomites, Amaziah hired a hundred thousand mercenaries from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, or Ephraim. A prophet warned him that since Israel was in such disfavor with God, to add these mercenaries to Judah’s army would cause Judah to lose the battle. Amaziah sent the men back, and they were greatly angered by the act.

While Amaziah went south to battle the Edomites, the mercenaries vented their anger by ravaging several of Judah’s towns on their return to the north. When Amaziah learned of their actions, he declared war on Israel.

Joash’s answer was a contemptuous insult. In his parable, Amaziah and Judah are the thistle, a weed that dries up and blows away in the summer heat. Joash and Israel are the cedar, an allusion to the cedars of Lebanon, giant and majestic trees that grew to over one hundred feet in height. Amaziah evidently asked for a royal princess as part of an official state apology. Joash said he would be like a wild beast instead and tromp the thistle weed down. Amaziah took the challenge and was badly beaten. The Chronicles account explains that the loss came because Amaziah had brought back the gods of Edom with him after the victory there, and he had worshiped them. (see 2 Chronicles 25:14-16, 20.)

2 Kings 14:11-12. What did Amaziah , king of Judah, and Jehoash, king of Israel, do when they met?

2 Kings 14:13-14. What did Jehoash do at Jerusalem?

2 Kings 14:16. Who replaced Jehoash as king of Israel?

2 Kings 14:17-20. What happened to Amaziah?

2 Kings 14:21. Who replaced Amaziah as king of Judah?

2 Kings 14:22. Elath

Elath was also known as Ezion-Geber. It was an area that had been controlled by Solomon and used as a home port for his Red Sea trading fleet to Ophir and Arabia (see 1 Kings 9:26; 2 Chronicles 8:17).

2 Kings 14:29. Who replaced Jeroboam as king of Israel?

2 Kings 15:1. Who replaced Amaziah as king of Judah?

2 Kings 15:1, 13. Who Were Azariah and Uzziah? They were the same person. It is not clear why the text here uses the two different names.

2 Kings 15:3-4. What did Azariah, king of Judah, do "in the sight of the Lord"? (2 Kings 15:3)

2 Kings 15:5. What did the Lord do to Azariah?

2 Kings 15:5. Why Did the Lord Smite Uzziah, and What Is a "Several House"?

A favorite passage of missionaries and teachers is 2 Chronicles 26:16-21. They use it to show that it is necessary to have divine authority to act in the ordinances and offices of the Church. Uzziah was smitten because he took it upon himself to perform rites reserved only for the priesthood. Uzziah was a fairly good king and, as such, prospered and became strong. But at that point he became lifted up and usurped priesthood authority, with disastrous results.

A "several house" gets its name from the word sever. The "several house" in which Uzziah lived was one severed or separated from society to house lepers, who were separated from society because of their disease.

2 Kings 15:5, 7. Who replaced Azariah as king of Judah?

2 Kings 15:8-9. What did Zachariah, king of Israel, do "in the sight of the Lord"? (v. 9)

2 Kings 15:10. Who replaced Zachariah as king of Israel?

2 Kings 15:11. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel

This record is not what is now called the books of Chronicles in the present Old Testament. They are the chronicles, or record, of the kings of Judah. The record of the kings of Israel was lost and is not available today.

2 Kings 15:19. Who Was Pul?

Pul is the personal name of King Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria. The kings of Israel paid tribute to him in return for protection against Egypt and other powers. He invaded Israel in 733 BC and captured some towns later taken over by his successor, Shalmaneser v.

2 Kings 15:25. Who Were the Gileadites?

The Gileadites were mainly of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (see Numbers 26:29-30; 27:1; 36:1; Joshua 17:1, 3; 1 Chronicles 2:21, 23; 7:14-17).

2 Kings 15:29. Who took much of Israel captive in the days of Pekah? (See v. 29; see also Bible Dictionary, p. 615, s.v. "Assyria"; Map 10)

2 Kings 16:2-4. What did Ahaz do "in the sight of the Lord"? (2 King 16:2)

2 Kings 16:3. Did Ahaz Sacrifice a Son to Molech?

This verse leaves some doubt about what Ahaz did. Did he kill his son or merely initiate him into the worship of a false god? Second Chronicles 28:3 supports the idea of an actual human sacrifice, and the commentators generally agree that Ahaz did murder some of his children in this fashion.

"So far as the fact is concerned, we have here the first instance of an actual Moloch-sacrifice among the Israelites, i.e. of one performed by slaying and burning ...

"The offering of his son for Moloch took place, in all probability, during the severe oppression of Ahaz by the Syrians, and was intended to appease the wrath of the gods, as was done by the king of the Moabites in similar circumstances [2 Kings 3:27]." (C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 3:1:399-400.)

2 Kings 16:7-9. Why did Ahaz send gold and silver to the king of Assyria?

2 Kings 16:10-11. What did Ahaz have built that was like the Assyrians had?

2 Kings 16:11. "Made It against King Ahaz Came from Damascus"

This phrase means that Urijah had the altar made by the time King Ahaz got back. Evidently, while in Damascus, Ahaz saw an altar, probably to a false god, that caught his admiration. He had a duplicate made in Jerusalem and set aside the great altar in the temple to use the new one in its place (compare with 2 Chronicles 28:23-5).

2 Kings 16:17. What did Ahaz take off the brazen oxen? (See headnote to 1 Kings 7)

2 Kings 16:18. What Is a "Covert for the Sabbath"?

The covert for the Sabbath may have been a shelter or an awning where the royal family sat to hear the law on the Sabbath. Some suppose it was a covered passageway to the temple from the royal house. (See Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible ... with a Commentary and Critical Notes, 2:534; Samuel Fallows, ed., The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia and Scriptural Dictionary, s.v. "covert for the Sabbath.")

2 Kings 17:3-4. Why did the king of Assyria put Hoshea in prison?

2 Kings 17:5-6. What did the king of Assyria do to Israel?

2 Kings 17:6. Destruction of Samaria

Samaria was destroyed in the first or second year of the reign of Sargon, who took his official name from a king of about twenty-two hundred years before whom he claimed as an ancestor. He finished the capture of Samaria his predecessors had started. The date is thought to be 721 BC, but it may have been 722.

The destruction of Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, was foretold by Hosea and Micah (see Hosea 13:16; Micah 1:6).

2 Kings 17:7-18. How had Isreal offended the Lord?

2 Kings 17:9. What Does the Expression "from the Tower of the Watchmen to the Fenced City" Mean?

Towers were built by owners of vineyards (see 2 Chronicles 26:10) so they could observe the countryside and protect their possessions. The expression "from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city" simply means from thinly populated areas to heavily populated areas. It is another way of saying that all Israel, the Northern Kingdom, had turned to the worship of idols.

2 Kings 17:16. What Is Meant by the Worship of the "Host of Heaven"?

This is the first time this form of idolatry is mentioned in the Northern Kingdom. To worship the host of heaven was to worship the sun, moon, and stars -- something that Moses had forbidden the people to do (see Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3).

2 Kings 17:18. What Tribes Were Carried Away and What Tribes Were Left?

The statement that "there was none left but the tribe of Judah only" can be understood correctly only if one realizes that at this time Benjamin, Levi, and all other Israelites who had left the nation of Israel and joined Judah were included under the title of Judah. The ten tribes carried into captivity at this time were Reuben, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulon, Gad, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The three remaining tribes were Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Some of the tribe of Levi were still with Israel (the ten tribes), however, and some of Ephraim, Manasseh, and other tribes were with Judah. So, the division is not as clear as a superficial reading might indicate.

2 Kings 17:18, 23. What happened to Israel? (See also D&C 132:26-35)

2 Kings 17:24-27. What did the Lord do to some Assyrians who lived in the cities of Israel? Why?

2 Kings 17:24-41. The Beginnings of the Samaritans

Some time after the ten tribes of Israel were taken into captivity, Assyria moved some of its own people into the area formerly occupied by the Israelites. When the new residents failed to prosper, the king of Assyria sent an Israelite priest to the area to instruct the people in the worship of Jehovah, though it was liberally mixed with the paganism of Assyria (vv. 28-29). Living as they did in Samaria and its environs, these new occupants of the land became known as Samaritans. Eventually, intermarriage of the Assyrian settlers with those stragglers who had survived the captivity (not all Israelites were removed) caused the Samaritans to claim Israelite covenant blessings. The Jews of later years refused to accept this claim because of the Samaritans' gentile blood and pagan religious tendencies. This refusal led to the increasing hostility between the Jews and Samaritans that was evident in the time of Jesus (see Notes and Commentary on Ezra 4-5). The Jews simply refused to associate with their Samaritan neighbors (see John 4:9).

2 Kings 17:34-39. What had the Israelites covenanted with the Lord?

2 Kings 18:1-4. What did Hezekiah do "in the sight of the Lord"? (2 Kings 18:3)

2 Kings 18:4. Why did he break the brazen serpent that Moses had made?

During their forty-year journey in the desert, the ancient Israelites often murmured against God and His prophet, Moses. The Lord sent among the people "fiery serpents" that threatened great destruction as a punishment. As a means of physical salvation and as a type of the spiritual salvation to be wrought by Jesus Christ (see John 3:14-5; 2 Nephi 25:20; Helaman 8:13-15), Moses made a serpent of brass, placed it on a pole, and taught his people that if they would gaze upon the serpent when they were bitten, physical healing would follow (see Numbers 21:4-9). The brass serpent was preserved in Israel and, in time, became an object of adoration and was worshiped by the Israelites much as they worshiped idols. In his zeal to eradicate all forms of idolatry in Judah, King Hezekiah had the brazen serpent destroyed along with the idols.

The word nehushtan comes from the Hebrew and means an object made of brass. The implication may be that Hezekiah was speaking contemptuously of the object being worshiped, saying it was merely a "thing of brass" and nothing more.

2 Kings 18:5. In whom did Hezekiah trust?

2 Kings 18:6. Which commandments did he keep?

2 Kings 18:13. What Is Known about Sennacherib, King of Assyria?

The account in 2 Kings 18:13-19:37 is very similar to the account in Isaiah 36-37. Sennacherib was the son of Sargon II and had numerous conquests to his credit. Clay tablets recording his various campaigns have been preserved and deciphered. The portion of one tablet that relates to the partial conquest of Judah reads as follows: "As for Hezekiah the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as the small cities in their neighborhood, which were without number -- by constructing a rampart out of trampled earth and by bringing up battering-rams, by the attack of infantry, by tunnels, breaches, and [the use of] axes, I besieged and took [those cities]. Two hundred thousand, one hundred and fifty people, great and small, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, cattle, and sheep without number, I brought away from them and counted as spoil. Himself like a caged bird I shut in Jerusalem his royal city. Earthworks I threw up against him; the one coming out of the city gate I turned back to his misery." (In Madeleine S. Miller and J. Lane Miller, Harper's Bible Dictionary, s.v. "Sennacherib.")

Sennacherib's account squares very well with the accounts given in 2 Kings 18:13-19:37 and Isaiah 36-37.

2 Kings 18:14. How Important Was Lachish?

Lachish was a fortified city in the land of Judah that guarded the main highway to Jerusalem from the south. By destroying Lachish, the Assyrians would deprive Judah of any support from Egypt as well as depriving them of one of their strongest fortifications (see 2 Chronicles 32:9).

2 Kings 18:17. Who Were Tartan, Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh?

The King James Version of the Bible treats these as personal names, but scholars now think that they were the titles of Assyrian officials appointed by Sennacherib to conclude terms for the surrender of Jerusalem (see The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 3:293).

2 Kings 18:17. What Were the "Conduit of the Upper Pool" and the "Highway of the Fuller's Field"?

A fuller was one who cleaned, pressed, bleached, and dyed cloth for a living. Since this work required a great deal of water, the "fuller's field" or place of work was always near a pool or spring of water. The Spring of Gihon was a natural water source in the Kidron Valley. In early times, before Israelite occupation, the inhabitants of Jerusalem sent their women to the spring for water. Standing on an elevated platform, the women let their leather buckets down a forty-foot shaft, or conduit, that led to the spring below and hauled up their water. Some think this was the "conduit of the Upper Pool." Located nearby was the "fuller's field." (See Miller and Miller, Harper's Bible Dictionary, s.v. "Gihon.") Remains of a large, man-made pool west of the city have been found, however, and some scholars think that may have been the location.

2 Kings 18:26. Why Did the Jewish Leaders Want to Speak in the Syrian Language?

The Jews were under siege, with a large population shut up in Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders did not want their people to hear the Assyrian conditions for fear that the people would panic and give in to their demands. Rabshakeh ignored their request and only cried louder (see 2 Kings 18:28).

2 Kings 18:28-32. What did Rabshakeh tell the people of Judah, in their own language, to do?

2 Kings 18:34. To What Do the Words Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah Refer?

These are the names of various cities conquered by Sennacherib during his numerous military campaigns. Many cities in ancient times had their own idols upon whom they relied in times of stress (see Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 3:296). Rabshakeh contemptuously dismissed the main consolation of the Jews (the idea that their God, Jehovah, would save them) by noting how unsuccessful other gods had been in defending their cities.

2 Kings 18:36. Why did the people not answer him?

2 Kings 19:2. To whom did Hezekiah send his servants?

2 Kings 19:3. What Does the Expression "for the Children Are Come to the Birth, and There Is Not Strength to Bring Forth" Mean?

"A figure denoting extreme danger, the most desperate circumstances. If the woman in travail has not strength to bring forth the child which has come to the mouth of the womb, both the life of the child and that of the mother are exposed to the greatest danger; and this was the condition of the people here (see the similar figure in [Hosea 13:13])." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:3:442.)

2 Kings 19:6-7. What did Isaiah say to the servants?

2 Kings 19:10-13. What message did the Assyrians send to Hezekiah?

2 Kings 19:15. Does God Dwell "between the Cherubims"?

This imagery is taken from the ark of the covenant (see Exodus 25:22).

2 Kings 19:19. What did Hezekiah ask of the Lord?

2 Kings 19. Hezekiah Prayed for Deliverance, and Isaiah Brought the Lord's Answer

In these verses and the parallel account in Isaiah 37 is found one of the most remarkable stories in scriptural history. The Assyrian army, with all its might and power, encircled Jerusalem. The Northern Kingdom had already fallen; all of Judah except Jerusalem itself was in Assyrian hands. There was no cause to hope that they could successfully resist. No cause but one.

Hezekiah had been a righteous king (see 2 Kings 18:4-6), and now he trusted in God again. In deep and pleading prayer, he asked Him for the solution. The Lord answered through His servant Isaiah, although the answer must have tested the faith of Hezekiah. While Assyrian campfires could be seen on all sides, Isaiah promised that not even an arrow would be shot against Jerusalem, for the Lord Himself would defend the city (see 2 Kings 19:32-34).

That very night Isaiah's promise was fulfilled. Some mysterious plague struck the Assyrian camp, and in the morning 185,000 Assyrians lay dead. Assyria's remnant left the scene like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs. (see vv. 35-36.) Judah could say, as did Elisha, "They that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 Kings 6:16).

2 Kings 19:20-34. What message did Isaiah send to Hezekiah?

2 Kings 19:22-28

The Lord addressed Assyria through Isaiah. Though Assyria had taken credit for all she had done, the Lord set the record straight: Assyria was but a tool in His hands. Since she was only a tool, He still controlled her, and she was at His mercy.

2 Kings 19:35. What happened to the Assyrian army?

2 Kings 19:35

The Joseph Smith Translation corrects this verse to read that "they who were left arose" to find that those smitten had died.

2 Kings 19:36-37. What happened to the king of Assyria?

2 Kings 20:3. What did Hezekiah say to the Lord when Isaiah told him he would die?

2 Kings 20:5. What message did the Lord give Isaiah for Hezekiah?

2 Kings 20:5-6. Is There a Time Appointed to Die?

President Spencer W. Kimball explained:

"Just as Ecclesiastes (3:2) says, I am confident that there is a time to die, but I believe also that many people die before 'their time' because they are careless, abuse their bodies, take unnecessary chances, or expose themselves to hazards, accidents, and sickness.

"Of the antediluvians, we read:

"'Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?

"'Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood.' (Job 22:15-16.)

In Ecclesiastes 7:17 we find this statement:

"'Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?'

"I believe we may die prematurely but seldom exceed our time very much. One exception was Hezekiah, 25-year-old king of Judah who was far more godly than his successors or predecessors.

"'In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah ... came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.'

"Hezekiah, loving life as we do, turned his face to the wall and wept bitterly, saying:

"'... remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight ...'

"The Lord yielded unto his prayers.

"'... I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold I will heal thee ...

"'And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria ...' (2 Kings 20:1, 3, 5-6.)

"A modern illustration of this exceptional extension of life took place in November, 1881.

"My uncle, David Patten Kimball, left his home in Arizona on a trip across the Salt River desert. He had fixed up his books and settled accounts and had told his wife of a premonition that he would not return. He was lost on the desert for two days and three nights, suffering untold agonies of thirst and pain. He passed into the spirit world and described later, in a letter of January 8, 1882, to his sister, what happened there. He had seen his parents. 'My father ... told me I could remain there if I chose to do so, but I pled with him that I might stay with my family long enough to make them comfortable, to repent of my sins, and more fully prepare myself for the change. Had it not been for this, I never should have returned home, except as a corpse. Father finally told me I could remain two years and to do all the good I could during that time, after which he would come for me ... He mentioned four others that he would come for also ...' Two years to the day from that experience on the desert he died easily and apparently without pain. Shortly before he died he looked up and called, 'Father, Father.' Within approximately a year of his death the other four men named were also dead." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 103-5; see also D&C 42:48.)

2 Kings 20:9-11. What sign was given Hezekiah that he would be healed?

2 Kings 20:11. What Is the "Dial of Ahaz"?

Ahaz was the father of King Hezekiah. In his lifetime he invented a special mechanism for telling time. The instrument appears to have consisted of a series of graduated lines, or steps, over which a column towered. As the earth moved, the sun would cast a shadow at a certain angle and thus measure the passing of the hours. (See William Smith, A Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. "dial.")

2 Kings 20:16-18. What was the Lord's message that Isaiah gave Hezekiah after he had shown the Babylonians all his treasure? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 618, s.v. "Babylon")

2 Kings 20:20. What did Hezekiah bring into the city? How?

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