Course Hero. "Old Testament Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 20 May 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 27). Old Testament Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 20, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "Old Testament Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/.
Course Hero, "Old Testament Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed May 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Old-Testament/.
The first part of 2 Kings (Chapters 1–17) continues the story of the parallel kingdoms of Israel and Judah, culminating in Israel's destruction at the hands of Assyria in 722 BCE. The rest of the book (Chapters 18–25) relays the similar fate of Judah, who despite the efforts of two good kings (Hezekiah and Josiah) similarly fell to idolatry and was destroyed by Babylonia in 586 BCE.
The primary task of the rest of 2 Kings is to explain the events leading up to the downfall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE and of Judah in 586 BCE. This story is key to understanding the entire Deuteronomistic History. Here, the narrative spanning Joshua's conquest, the judges, and all the kings of Israel and Judah comes to its two most consequential outcomes. All the warnings about unfaithfulness to Yahweh's commands and prohibitions of worship of other deities anticipate these momentous events.
The demise of the Northern Kingdom is straightforward in 2 Kings. None of its rulers worshipped Yahweh properly. The Assyrian conquest of the kingdom is explained thus: "This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their God. ... They had worshipped other gods and walked in the customs of the nations ... and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced" (2 Kings 17:7–8).
Explaining the downfall of Judah presents a more challenging quandary for the Deuteronomistic History. Although the kings of Judah had many failures of their own, the Deuteronomistic History presents the unbroken Davidic dynasty in Jerusalem as Yahweh's anointed leadership for all Israel, a throne "established forever." Confounding the problem is the detail that two of Judah's later kings, Hezekiah and Josiah, took dramatic steps to correct the wrongs of their day and reform Judahite religion and society. But these reforms must be understood as too little too late. The blame is placed on the vilified Manasseh, who undid all of Hezekiah's reforms during a 55-year reign: "Still Yahweh did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath ... because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him" (2 Kings 23:26). 2 Kings thus gives a dramatic and painful conclusion to the long saga of the Deuteronomistic History. But with the notice that King Jehoiachin survives in exile, it hints at the possibility of a sequel.