Steve Owens has provided this short overview of the book to help you as you read this book.
The two books of Kings were written in Hebrew as one book. They cover the period of 400 years from the last days of David  to the release of Jehoiachin from prison in Babylon .
What is the purpose of the books of Kings?
‘To give an interpretation of history … as showing God at work, blessing, warning and judging his people according to their recorded obedience or disloyalty to his revealed and knowable law’ [D J Wiseman, Tyndale Old Testament Commentary].
When were they written?
Definitely after 561 BC, the date of the last recorded event. There is no mention of Cyrus of Persia who ended the exile following the fall of Babylon, so Kings was probably written before 539 BC (see Daniel 5:30).
Who wrote the books of Kings?
The last few verses of 2 Kings suggest that the book was written by an anonymous author in Babylon. There is vast archaeological evidence that kings of that period kept detailed records. The author mentions three primary sources:
“the book of the annals of Solomon” (1 Kings 11:41) – court records – e.g. the lists in 1 Kings 4 and 10.
“the book of the annals of the kings of Israel” (mentioned 17 times).
“the book of the annals of the kings of Judah” (mentioned 15 times).
Why should we read the books of Kings?
I. We get God’s interpretation of Israel’s past. This is ‘sacred history’ – events are evaluated from God’s perspective. So both the selection of events covered and the verdict passed on them is different from that of secular historians. In the Hebrew Bible, the historical books are called the Former Prophets, because they offer God’s commentary on his life with his people.
II. We see a primary concern with covenant faithfulness, loyalty to God, rather than political prowess. For example, Omri, the northern kingdom’s most able political leader, is allotted only 8 verses.
III. We get a context in which to read the books of the prophets. The period covered by 1 and 2 Kings was also the time when most of Israel’s writing prophets composed their books. People like Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were preaching and writing to real people during real historical events.
IV. We are reading our own history as a continuing part of God’s people. “In rich and often surprising ways, the narrative in Kings is part of the history that has shaped, and will continue to shape, the faith and life of Christian believers” [Olley, Bible Speaks Today].
Bay Church Reflections
Each month we will look to refer to the book of 2 Kings as often as possible. We hope this will increase our familiarity with the book and provide more opportunity to learn from it. As they happen this page will be updated.
- Introductory Sermon
- Home Groups
- Monday 6th & 20th
- Wednesday 8th & 22nd
- Children’s Address during Morning Meeting.
If you have any questions about the book of 2 Kings as you read please contact Andrew: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may find these Resources helpful in your understanding of 1 Kings
– The Bible Projects Overview of 1 & 2Kings– See here
The Following Commentaries are available from The Bay Church Office, to borrow.
– Dale Ralph Davis – The Power & The Fury