Kings of Israel and Judah

Discovery for Students

Kings of Israel and Judah


2 Kings 8:16 through 17:41

“And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” (2 Kings 17:38-39)


These chapters in the Book of 2 Kings cover a span of about 135 years (approximately 850 B.C. to 715 B.C.). The nation of Israel had been divided around 931 B.C. into two kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), and the narrative moves back and forth between the history of these two fragmented nations, recording the kings of both.

A total of twenty-one rulers are mentioned in these chapters: twelve kings of Israel and nine of Judah. Along with listing some of the exploits of the kings, an assessment of their devotion to God is given. They were described as righteous kings (in terms of religious leadership or reforms), evil kings (either as political or religious leaders), and kings who were overthrown or assassinated. The designation of “righteous” or “evil” was very important, for as the king went, so did the nation.

This was a tumultuous time for the divided kingdom, with many political conspiracies taking place. Yet, even in a time laced with violence, chaos, and selfish ambitions, the Lord was faithful to His people. He providentially raised up individuals to accomplish His purpose, while reminding the people that His promises to them were still valid if they would only choose to follow His statutes.


  1. After co-reigning for a number of years with his father Jehoshaphat, Jehoram assumed full leadership of the nation of Judah when his father died. Who was Jehoram’s wife? What affect did her background have upon Jehoram, and thus upon the nation? 2 Kings 8:18
  2. In 2 Kings 9:30-37, we find the fulfillment of a prophecy that was given to Elijah twenty years earlier (1 Kings 21:17-24) when Jezebel had Naboth the Jezreelite murdered so that Ahab could acquire his vineyard for a garden. Name at least one spiritual truth that can be derived from this account.
  3. In chapter 10, Jehu was commended for his obedience to God in destroying the worship of Baal in Israel (see verses 28, 30). However, in spite of his apparent zeal to wipe out the worship of Baal, he allowed the Israelites to continue the worship of the golden calves in the cities of Bethel and Dan. How does verse 31 describe his spiritual condition?
  4. Jehoram’s son Ahaziah succeeded his father on the throne of Judah, but he was soon killed by Jehu, king of Israel. Ahaziah’s son Joash, the next true heir to the throne, was then hidden for his safety as Jehoram’s wife Athaliah attempted to destroy all the royal seed so she could usurp the government and rule Judah. At the age of seven, Joash was brought out of hiding and placed on the throne. Given his young age, to what can we attribute his commitment to God? 2 Kings 11:4, 17-18
  5. In chapter 13, the focus again is on the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Lord delivered the people of Israel into the hand of the Syrians because of their wickedness. When King Jehoash (also referred to as Joash, but not to be confused with the good King Joash who ruled in Judah at the same time) sought advice from Elisha the prophet, what did Elisha tell him to do? What was Elisha’s reaction to the manner in which Jehoash followed through? 2 Kings 13:14-19
  6. Chapters 14-17 of 2 Kings provide a list and an assessment of a number of kings of Israel and Judah. Some of them did right, but most of them did evil before God. It was noted in the lesson introduction that as the king went, so went the nation. How is this fact significant to us?
  7. Because of the sin of the Israelites, the Lord allowed them to be taken captive by the Assyrians. What specific sins are mentioned in 2 Kings 17:7-12? In what way did God show mercy to the Israelites, and what was their reaction? 2 Kings 17:13-17
  8. What spiritual lessons stand out to you as you review these chapters?


Although human acts may not reap immediate retribution, these chapters in 2 Kings clearly point out that whatever a man sows, he will also reap. God is merciful, but divine justice will ultimately be satisfied. As we study these Scriptures, may we learn from Israel’s hard lessons!