Kings (Southern Kingdom)

2 Chronicles 10-36
Isaiah 1-11, 29-32
Micah 1-7
Zephaniah 1-3
Jeremiah 1-7
Joel 1-3
Habakkuk 1-3
Nahum 1-3


930 – 586 BC


Key Concepts (How to Read)

1.     Cycles now rooted in Kings – power of a human king
2.     High Places – Compromise continues
3.     Tension between Spiritual and Political Authority
4.     Judgment (prophets) – delayed but coming – and our response
5.     Repentance
6.     Israel as curse instead of blessing

Key Sections (What it says)

Reminder – Solomon, Rehoboam

19 Kings of Judah
12 “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD”
7  “did what was right in the sight of the LORD”

Twin sins of Idolatry and Injustice continue under bad kings.

King Asa – 1 Kings 15:9-15 – Faithful to worship of Yahweh alone, but not effective at eliminating unregistered worship.

Tension between God’s authority/representatives and that of the King
      Joash and the priest Jehoiada in 2 Chronicles 24
      Uzziah and leprosy in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

Micah – Prophesies the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem.

King Hezekiah – 715-686 BC – 2 Kings 18:1-7.  Destroys the high places!
- Seige of Jerusalem – 701 BC – 2 Kings 18:13-19:37.

Isaiah – prophesies for 40 years.  Arguably the most influential of the Biblical prophets for Christians.  Messianic language appears throughout.  Works to call the people back to a proper relationship with the Lord.  Serves under Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.

King Manasseh – 696-642 BC – 2 Kings 21:1-18.  The Judgment of the Lord is certain.  Most evil king, but even he is capable of repentance – 2 Chronicles 33:12-13

King Josiah – 640-609 BC – 2 Kings 22-23
- Finds the Book of the Law – 22:10-13
- Covenant Renewal – 23:1-3
- Purging of other religions – 23:4-20, 24-25.
- Passover celebration – 23:21-23

Jeremiah – begins his ministry in 627, one year after Josiah’s reforms begin. 
-       suffering prophet
-       God’s judgment on Judah – proclaims that the people should surrender, not popular

Zephaniah – Also during Josiah’s reign – proclaims judgment and the “Day of the Lord.”

Nahum – Prophecy against Ninevah (capital of Assyria) – must be dated before 612 BC when Ninevah was destroyed.

After Josiah – decline and fall of Judah

Geopolitics – Egypt and Babylon, powerful nations with Judah in between.  Where will the kings place their trust, in allies or in God?

Joel – sometime before the Babylonian attacks.  Also proclaims the “Day of the Lord,” calls for repentance, focus on the locusts (like a new plague).

Habakkuk – sometime before the Babylonians.  A theodicy – a defense of the goodness of God – in conversation form between the prophet and God.

Major Babylonian Exiles by Nebuchadnezzar: 2 Chronicles 36

605 – first deportation, includes Daniel, King Jehoiakim
597 – second deportation, includes Ezekiel, King Jehoiachin
586 – final destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem, execution of King Zedekiah

Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years of exile followed by release – Jeremiah 25:11-12


Conversation: Discussion Questions

1.     Most of the “good” kings shared a common trait; a willingness to listen to godly voices and accept correction.  Do you have people in your life who can tell you that you are wrong? 

2.     When things were going well with King Asa, his reliance on God decreased and he began to make decisions from a secular, worldly perspective.  (relied on a Northern neighbor for protection and did not ask God to be healed).  When things are going well, do you have a tendency to overly rely on yourself?

3.     Which of these missteps resonate with you?

a.     Not seeking wise counsel from mature believers(Rehoboam)

b.     Trusting ourselves, secular solutions and worldly wisdom.  Consequently not turning to God for his provision (Asa)

c.     Not seeking the Lord’s guidance before making an important decision and making poor decisions because of an ungodly alliance/friendship/partnership (Jehoram’s marriage to Ahab’s daughter)

d.     Refusing humility.  Discontentment or striving to be more and consequentlyseeking to do something that you are neither called or qualified to do (Uzziah)

e.     Making a very bad decision because you are prideful and showing off your intelligence/power/position/money/etc.  (Hezekiah)

4.     Think back on Manasseh’s sins (2 Kings 21:1-18).  What is most appalling to you? 

5.     Josiah is an exceptionally good king, especially coming on the heels of Manasseh.  Why do you think he fails to “turn things around” in a permanent fashion?  What limits of spiritual leadership does he run into?

6.     As you learn about Jeremiah and the other minor prophets, what strikes you as similar about of them?  Why does every prophet proclaim the same theme of coming judgment?

7.     How do we, as a people and as individuals, do with the practice of repentance?  What kind of repentance might have changed God’s mind about the coming judgment?

8.     The destruction of the temple is an act of incalculable loss for the Israelites.  What do they loose?  Can you think of anything comparable for Christians today?

9.     God’s presence appears to be removed from the Israelites by the end of this story – the nation is gone, the temple destroyed, the ark disappeared.  What signs do we still have, however, that Yahweh isn’t done yet with his people?

If you have time, read the following passage: Jeremiah 31:31-34

10.  Which covenant did God make after the Exodus?  How does this “new covenant” sound similar, and different, from that covenant?

11.  What metaphor does God use to explain the experience of the broken covenant?

     12.  Obviously this new covenant anticipates Jesus.  What parts of these verses help you

            see how the covenant with Jesus is different that the old covenant with Moses?


Next week we will focus on the Exile in Babylon.  See you then!