The General Theme
The situation degrades over the course of the diverse kingly reigns both in Israel and in Judah. In Israel the kingdom of the North, nine dynasties succeed one after another on the throne of Samaria and the decline is rapid as they are quickly faced with attacks from the Syrians and then the Assyrians. This situation ends in 721BC when the Assyrians conquered
Samaria and took the ten tribes into captivity.
However, in Judah, the kingdom of the South, the lamp of king David had not yet been extinguished (cp 1 Kings 11:36; 15:4; 2 Kings 8:19): they are blessed under the godly revivals of king Hezekiah (2 Kings 18–20) and king Josiah (2 Kings 22–23), along with the godly reigns of other kings such as Asa and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 15, 22). However, God did not change His decree of judgment on Israel, who reverted to decades of corruption and idolatry. Finally, Judah is deported into Babylon (606, 598 and 586BC), fulfilling the prophecies of Moses in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.
The Ministry of the Prophets
God never punishes without prior warning. He sent Ahijah to Solomon (1 Kings 11:29-39), Elijah and Micaiah to Ahab (1 Kings 17, 18, 22), then Elisha, Amos and Hosea to the kingdom of Israel in the north. The kingdom of Judah in the south benefited from the ministry of numerous prophets, some anonymous and others more well known. The reading of the texts of Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk and Jeremiah shines light on the books of Kings and Chronicles.
Section 1 Chapters 1–17 A patient God towards the two kingdoms.
- The record of the ministry of Elisha, in the reigns of ten kings of Israel and eight kings of Judah. In the end the ten tribes of the north are led into captivity in Assyria (721BC).
Section 2 Chapters 18–25 A patient God, still with Judah.
- The record of the two godly kings, Hezekiah (ch 18–20) and Josiah (ch 22–23), but also of six godless kings. Finally, Jerusalem is taken and Judah deported to Babylon (586BC).