Author: The Book of 2 Kings does not name its author. The  tradition is that the prophet Jeremiah was the author of both 1 and 2  Kings.

Date of Writing: The Book of 2 Kings, along with  1 Kings, was likely written between 560 and 540 B.C.

Purpose of  Writing: The Book of 2 Kings is a sequel to the Book of 1 Kings. It  continues the story of the kings over the divided kingdom (Israel and Judah.)  The Book of 2 Kings concludes with the final overthrow and deportation of the  people of Israel and Judah to Assyria and Babylon,  respectively.

Key Verses: 2 Kings  17:7-8: “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the  LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of  Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of  the nations the LORD had driven out before them, as well as the practices that  the kings of Israel had introduced.”

2 Kings  22:1a-2: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in  Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and  walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to  the left.”

2 Kings  24:2: “The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders  against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the  LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets.”

2 Kings 8:19:  “Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the LORD was not willing to  destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants  forever.”

Brief Summary: Second Kings depicts the  downfall of the divided kingdom. Prophets continue to warn the people that the  judgment of God is at hand, but they will not repent. The kingdom of Israel is  repeatedly ruled by wicked kings, and even though a few of Judah’s kings are  good, the majority of them lead the people away from worship of Jehovah. These  few good rulers, along with Elisha and other prophets, cannot stop the nation’s  decline. The Northern Kingdom of Israel is eventually destroyed by the  Assyrians, and about 136 years later the Southern Kingdom of Judah is destroyed  by the Babylonians.

There are three prominent themes present in the Book  of 2 Kings. First, the Lord will judge His people when they disobey and turn  their backs on Him. The Israelites’ unfaithfulness was reflected in the evil  idolatry of the kings and resulted in God exercising His righteous wrath against  their rebellion. Second, the word of the true prophets of God always comes to  pass. Because the Lord always keeps His word, so too are the words of His  prophets always true. Third, the Lord is faithful. He remembered His promise to  David (2 Samuel  7:10-13), and, despite the disobedience of the people and the evil kings who  ruled them, the Lord did not bring David’s family to an  end.

Foreshadowings: Jesus uses the stories of the  widow of Zarephath from 1 Kings and Naaman in 2 Kings to illustrate the great  truth of God’s compassion toward those the Jews deemed unworthy of God’s  grace—the poor, the weak, the oppressed, tax collectors, Samaritans, Gentiles.  By citing the examples of a poor widow and a leper, Jesus showed Himself to be  the Great Physician who heals and ministers to those in the greatest need of  divine sovereign grace. This same truth was the basis of the mystery of the body  of Christ, His Church, which would be drawn from all levels of society, male and  female, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile (Ephesians  3:1-6).

Many of the miracles of Elisha foreshadowed those of Jesus  Himself. Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son (2 Kings  4:34-35), healed Naaman of leprosy (2 Kings  5:1-19), and multiplied  loaves of bread to feed a hundred people with some  left over (2 Kings  4:42-44).

Practical Application: God hates sin and  He will not allow it to continue indefinitely. If we belong to Him, we can  expect His discipline when we disobey Him. A loving Father corrects His children  for their benefit and to prove that they indeed belong to Him. God may at times  use unbelievers to bring correction to His people, and He gives us warning  before delivering judgment. As Christians, we have His Word to guide us and warn  us when we go astray from His path. Like the prophets of old, His Word is  trustworthy and always speaks truth. God’s faithfulness to His people will never  fail, even when we do.

The stories of the widow and the leper are  examples for us in regard to the Body of Christ. Just a Elisha had pity on these  from the lowest levels of society, we are to welcome all who belong to Christ  into our churches. God is no “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) and neither should we be.