2 Kings 25:1-26
Memorise 2 Kings 21:14-15
"they have done ... evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger"

The book of 2 Kings is a continuation of 1 Kings. It follows the rise and fall of the various kings of both Israel and Judah. It is probably one of the saddest and most tragic accounts in the history of Israel, as we see both the northern and southern Kingdoms decline and ultimately fall into captivity.

At the beginning of the book we read of the last few acts of Elijah before he is taken up to heaven, and see his ministry passed on to Elisha. Though they were godly and fearless prophets, quick to rebuke the sin and idolatry of the various kings of Israel, it was to no avail as there was little they could do to stem the moral and religious decline of the nations. There are a few bright spots in the book - resulting from the ministry of the prophets, and also during the revivals that occurred during the reign of good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah - but the trend was generally downwards.

2 Kings 16-17 describes the final downfall of the northern kingdom, the nation of Israel, with the sacking of Samaria. After they were conquered, the Assyrians removed the children of Israel and brought people from many of the surrounding nations to occupy the cities. As a result the Samaritans became a mixed race who practised a sort of syncretistic religion. They still worshipped Jehovah in name, for they understood Him to be the God of Samaria, but they worshipped Him with their own methods: in high places and before idols. This is why during the time of Jesus, the Samaritans were despised and looked down upon by the Jews.

2 Kings 25 describes the final destruction of the southern kingdom, the nation of Judah, as Jerusalem is razed to the ground, the Temple of the Lord plundered and destroyed, and the once glorious city of God made desolate. The Jews were carried off captive into Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, and prophets like Daniel and Ezekiel were amongst the prisoners. One of the last kings of Judah, King Zedekiah, had to watch the Chaldeans kill his 4 sons, before they put out his eyes. It was indeed a sad and tragic end, but no less than what they deserved, for God had warned them time and again that this would be the punishment for their disobedience. They did not heed the warning, and thus had to pay the price.

Thought: The wages of sin is death.
Prayer: Lord, help me to realize the gravity of sin, and to fear Thee, and to always walk in Your ways.