The author of 2 Kings is not known with certainty, although Jewish tradition claims that it was Jeremiah the prophet. These claims could have been made because Jeremiah had direct access to Judah’s last remaining Kings, and was an eye witness of Judah’s final destruction.
2 Kings continues where 1 Kings ended. The once great nation of Israel is now separated in two because its people have forgotten God. Israel has been divided, and the two kingdoms have begun to slide into idolatry and corruption towards collapse and captivity.
2 kings records the stories of the 12 kings of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the 16 kings of the Southern Kingdom (Judah). For 130 years, Israel endures the succession of evil rulers until they are conquered by Assyria and led into captivity.
Of all the kings in both the North and South, only two – Hezekiah and Josiah – are called good. Because of their obedience to God and the spiritual revivals during their reigns, but Judah was blessed with an additional 136 years until they were taken captive by the Babylonians.
Throughout the demise of God’s people, the Bible mentions 30 prophets who proclaimed God’s message to the people and their leaders. Most notable are Elijah and Elisha. The book of 2 Kings opens with Elijah being carried to heaven – the destination awaiting those who follow God. But the book ends with the people of Judah being carried off to a foreign land as humiliated slaves – the result of failing to follow God.
2 Kings is an illustration of what happens when we make anything more important than God. When we make foolish alliances, when our consciences become desensitized to right and wrong, and when we are no longer able to discern God’s purpose for our lives.
Believers sometimes may fail in their duties like the children of Israel, but God’s promises do not. Be encouraged, God will always be there to help us straighten out our lives and start over!