Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings
Places Written: Jerusalem and Egypt
Writing Completed: 580 B.C.E.
Time Covered: c. 920–580 B.C.E.
1. What histories are related in Second Kings, and in vindication of what?
THE book of Second Kings continues to trace the turbulent course of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Elisha took up the mantle of Elijah and was blessed with two parts of Elijah’s spirit, performing 16 miracles, compared with the 8 of Elijah. He continued to prophesy doom for apostate Israel, where only Jehu provided a brief flash of zeal for Jehovah. More and more, Israel’s kings became bogged down in wickedness, until the northern kingdom finally crumbled before Assyria in 740 B.C.E. In the southern kingdom of Judah, a few outstanding kings, notably Jehoshaphat, Jehoash, Hezekiah, and Josiah, swept back the tide of apostasy for a time, but Nebuchadnezzar at last executed Jehovah’s judgment by devastating Jerusalem, its temple, and the land of Judah in 607 B.C.E. Thus Jehovah’s prophecies were fulfilled, and his word was vindicated!
2. What may be said as to the writership and canonicity of Second Kings, and what period is covered by it?
2 Since Second Kings was originally part of the same roll as First Kings, what has already been said concerning Jeremiah’s writership applies equally here, as do the proofs of the book’s canonicity and authenticity. It was completed about 580 B.C.E. and covers the period beginning with the reign of Ahaziah of Israel in about 920 B.C.E. and ending in the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile, 580 B.C.E.—1:1; 25:27.
3. What remarkable archaeological finds support Second Kings?
3 Archaeological finds supporting the record of Second Kings give further evidence of its genuineness. For example, there is the famous Moabite Stone, whose inscription gives Moabite king Mesha’s version of the warfare between Moab and Israel. (3:4, 5) There is also the black basalt obelisk of the Assyrian Shalmaneser III, now on display in the British Museum, London, which mentions Israel’s king Jehu by name. There are the inscriptions of Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (Pul), which name several kings of Israel and Judah, including Menahem, Ahaz, and Pekah.—15:19, 20; 16:5-8.a
4. What proves that Second Kings is an integral part of the inspired Scriptures?
4 A clear proof of the authenticity of the book is to be found in the utmost candor with which it describes the execution of Jehovah’s judgments upon his own people. As first the kingdom of Israel and then the kingdom of Judah go crashing into ruin, the telling force of Jehovah’s prophetic judgment in Deuteronomy 28:15–29:28 is brought home to us. In the destruction of those kingdoms, “Jehovah’s anger blazed against that land by bringing upon it the whole malediction written in this book.” (Deut. 29:27; 2 Ki. 17:18; 25:1, 9-11) Other events recorded in Second Kings are elucidated elsewhere in the Scriptures. At Luke 4:24-27, after Jesus refers to Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, he speaks of Elisha and Naaman in showing why he himself was not accepted as a prophet in his home territory. Thus, both First and Second Kings are seen to be an integral part of the Holy Scriptures.
CONTENTS OF SECOND KINGS
5. What reproof and sentence does Elijah pass on Ahaziah, and why?
5 Ahaziah, king of Israel (1:1-18). Suffering a fall in his home, this son of Ahab gets sick. He sends to ask Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether he is to recover. Elijah intercepts the messengers and sends them back to the king, reproving him for not inquiring of the true God and telling him that because he did not turn to the God of Israel, he will positively die. When the king sends out a chief with 50 men to take Elijah and bring him to the king, Elijah calls down fire from heaven to devour them. The same thing happens to a second chief with his 50. A third chief and 50 are sent, and this time Elijah spares their lives by virtue of the chief’s respectful plea. Elijah goes with them to the king and again pronounces sentence of death on Ahaziah. The king dies just as Elijah said he would. Then Jehoram the brother of Ahaziah becomes king over Israel, for Ahaziah has no son to take his place.
6. Under what circumstances does Elijah part from Elisha, and how is it soon shown that “the spirit of Elijah” has settled on Elisha?
6 Elisha succeeds Elijah (2:1-25). The time comes for Elijah to be taken away. Elisha sticks with him on his journey from Gilgal to Bethel, to Jericho, and finally across the Jordan. Elijah parts the waters of the Jordan by striking them with his official garment. As he sees a fiery war chariot and fiery horses come between himself and Elijah and he sees Elijah go up in a windstorm, Elisha receives the promised two parts in Elijah’s spirit. He soon shows that “the spirit of Elijah” has settled down upon him. (2:15) Taking up Elijah’s fallen garment, he uses it to divide the waters again. He then heals the bad water at Jericho. On the way to Bethel, small boys begin to jeer at him: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” (2:23) Elisha calls on Jehovah, and two she-bears come out of the woods and kill 42 of these juvenile delinquents.
7. Because of what does Jehovah rescue Jehoshaphat and Jehoram?
7 Jehoram, king of Israel (3:1-27). This king keeps on doing what is bad in Jehovah’s eyes, sticking to the sins of Jeroboam. The king of Moab has been paying tribute to Israel but now revolts, and Jehoram obtains the help of King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom in going against Moab. On the way to the attack, their armies come to waterless terrain and are about to perish. The three kings go down to Elisha to inquire of Jehovah his God. Because of faithful Jehoshaphat, Jehovah rescues them and gives them the victory over Moab.
8. What further miracles does Elisha perform?
8 Elisha’s further miracles (4:1–8:15). As her creditors are about to take her two sons into slavery, the widow of one of the sons of the prophets seeks help from Elisha. He miraculously multiplies the small supply of oil in her house so that she is able to sell enough to pay her debts. A Shunammite woman recognizes Elisha as a prophet of the true God, and she and her husband prepare a room for his use when he is in Shunem. Because of her kindness, Jehovah blesses her with a son. Some years later, the child becomes sick and dies. The woman immediately seeks out Elisha. He accompanies her to her home, and by Jehovah’s power he raises the child to life. Returning to the sons of the prophets at Gilgal, Elisha miraculously removes “death in the pot” by rendering poisonous gourds harmless. He then feeds a hundred men with 20 barley loaves, and yet they have “leftovers.”—4:40, 44.
9. What miracles are performed in connection with Naaman, and with the axhead?
9 Naaman, the chief of the Syrian army, is a leper. A captive Israelite girl tells Naaman’s wife that there is a prophet in Samaria who can cure him. Naaman journeys to Elisha, but instead of attending to him personally, Elisha merely sends word for him to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman is indignant at this apparent lack of respect. Are not the rivers of Damascus better than the waters of Israel? But he is prevailed upon to obey Elisha, and he is cured. Elisha refuses to accept a gift as a reward, but later his attendant Gehazi runs after Naaman and asks for a gift in Elisha’s name. When he returns and tries to deceive Elisha, Gehazi is struck with leprosy. Still another miracle is performed when Elisha makes an axhead float.
10. How are the superior forces of Jehovah shown, and how does Elisha turn back the Syrians?
10 When Elisha warns the king of Israel of a Syrian plot to kill him, the king of Syria sends a military force to Dothan to capture Elisha. Seeing the city surrounded by the armies of Syria, Elisha’s attendant becomes fearful. Elisha assures him: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” Then he prays to Jehovah to let his attendant see the great force that is with Elisha. ‘And, look! The mountainous region is full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.’ (6:16, 17) When the Syrians attack, the prophet again prays to Jehovah, and the Syrians are struck with mental blindness and led to the king of Israel. Instead of their being put to death, however, Elisha tells the king to spread a feast for them and send them home.
11. How are Elisha’s prophecies concerning the Syrians and Ben-hadad fulfilled?
11 Later on, King Ben-hadad of Syria besieges Samaria, and there is a great famine. The king of Israel blames Elisha, but the prophet predicts an abundance of food for the following day. In the night, Jehovah causes the Syrians to hear the sound of a great army, so that they flee, leaving all their provisions for the Israelites. After some time Ben-hadad becomes sick. On hearing a report that Elisha has come to Damascus, he sends Hazael to inquire if he will recover. Elisha’s answer indicates that the king will die and that Hazael will become king in his place. Hazael makes sure of this by himself killing the king and taking over the kingship.
12. What kind of king does Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram prove to be?
12 Jehoram, king of Judah (8:16-29). Meanwhile, in Judah, Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram is now king. He proves to be no better than the kings of Israel, doing bad in Jehovah’s eyes. His wife is Ahab’s daughter Athaliah, whose brother, also named Jehoram, is reigning in Israel. At the death of Jehoram of Judah, his son Ahaziah becomes king in Jerusalem.
13. With what lightning campaign does Jehu follow up his anointing?
13 Jehu, king of Israel (9:1–10:36). Elisha sends one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu to be king over Israel and to commission him to strike down the entire house of Ahab. Jehu loses no time. He sets out after Jehoram, king of Israel, who is at Jezreel recuperating from war wounds. The watchman sees the heaving mass of men approaching, and at last he reports to the king: “The driving is like the driving of Jehu the grandson of Nimshi, for it is with madness that he drives.” (9:20) Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah inquire as to Jehu’s intent. Jehu replies by asking: “What peace could there be as long as there are the fornications of Jezebel your mother and her many sorceries?” (9:22) As Jehoram turns to flee, Jehu shoots an arrow through his heart. His body is thrown there into the field of Naboth, as further repayment for the innocent blood shed by Ahab. Later Jehu and his men pursue Ahaziah, striking him down so that he dies at Megiddo. Two kings die in Jehu’s first lightning campaign.
14. How is Elijah’s prophecy concerning Jezebel fulfilled?
14 Now it is Jezebel’s turn! As Jehu triumphantly rides into Jezreel, Jezebel appears at her window in her most glamorous makeup. Jehu is unimpressed. “Let her drop!” he calls to some attendants. Down she goes, her blood spattering on the wall and on the horses that trample on her. When they go to bury her, they can find only her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands. This is in fulfillment of Elijah’s prophecy, ‘dogs have eaten her, and she has become as manure in the tract of land of Jezreel.’—2 Ki. 9:33, 36, 37; 1 Ki. 21:23.
15. What different kinds of encounters does Jehu have on the way to Samaria?
15 Next, Jehu orders the slaughter of the 70 sons of Ahab, and he stacks their heads at the gate of Jezreel. All of Ahab’s yes-men in Jezreel are struck down. Now, on to Israel’s capital, Samaria! On the way he meets the 42 brothers of Ahaziah, who are traveling to Jezreel, unaware of what is happening. They are taken and slain. But now there is a different kind of encounter. Jehonadab the son of Rechab comes out to meet Jehu. To Jehu’s question, “Is your heart upright with me, just as my own heart is with your heart?” Jehonadab replies, “It is.” Jehu then makes him go along with him in his chariot to see firsthand his “toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.”—2 Ki. 10:15, 16.
16. How thorough is Jehu’s action against Ahab’s house and against Baal?
16 On arrival in Samaria, Jehu annihilates everything left over of Ahab’s, according to Jehovah’s word to Elijah. (1 Ki. 21:21, 22) However, what of the detestable religion of Baal? Jehu declares, “Ahab, on the one hand, worshiped Baal a little. Jehu, on the other hand, will worship him a great deal.” (2 Ki. 10:18) Calling all these demon worshipers to the house of Baal, he has them put on their garments of identification and makes sure there is no worshiper of Jehovah among them. Then he sends his men in to strike them down, not letting a single one escape. Baal’s house is demolished, and the place is turned into privies, which remain till Jeremiah’s day. ‘Thus Jehu annihilates Baal out of Israel.’—10:28.
17. In what does Jehu fail, and how does Jehovah start to bring punishment on Israel?
17 However, even the zealous Jehu fails. In what? In that he continues to follow the golden calves that Jeroboam set up in Bethel and Dan. He does not “take care to walk in the law of Jehovah the God of Israel with all his heart.” (10:31) But because of his action against the house of Ahab, Jehovah promises that his descendants will reign over Israel to the fourth generation. In his days, Jehovah starts to cut off the eastern part of the kingdom, bringing Hazael of Syria against Israel. After reigning 28 years, Jehu dies and is succeeded by his son Jehoahaz.
18. How is Athaliah’s conspiracy in Judah thwarted, and what is noteworthy about the reign of Jehoash?
18 Jehoash, king of Judah (11:1–12:21). The queen mother, Athaliah, is daughter to Jezebel in flesh and in spirit. Hearing of the death of her son Ahaziah, she orders the execution of the entire royal family and takes over the throne. Only Ahaziah’s baby son Jehoash escapes death when he is hidden away. In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest has Jehoash anointed as king and has Athaliah put to death. Jehoiada directs the people in the worship of Jehovah, instructs the youthful king in his duties before God, and arranges for repairing the house of Jehovah. By means of gifts, Jehoash turns back an attack by Hazael the king of Syria. After he has ruled for 40 years in Jerusalem, Jehoash is assassinated by his servants, and Amaziah his son begins to rule as king in place of him.
19. (a) What false worship continues during the reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoash in Israel? (b) How does Elisha end his course as Jehovah’s prophet?
19 Jehoahaz and Jehoash, kings of Israel (13:1-25). Jehu’s son Jehoahaz continues in idol worship, and Israel comes under the power of Syria, although Jehoahaz is not dethroned. Jehovah frees the Israelites in time, but they continue in Jeroboam’s calf worship. At Jehoahaz’ death, his son Jehoash takes his place as king in Israel, even while the other Jehoash is reigning in Judah. Jehoash of Israel continues in the idol worship of his father. At his death his son Jeroboam becomes king. It is during the reign of Jehoash that Elisha falls sick and dies, after making his final prophecy that Jehoash will strike down Syria three times, which is duly fulfilled. The final miracle accredited to Elisha takes place after his death, when a dead man is thrown into the same burial place, only to stand up alive as soon as he touches Elisha’s bones.
20. Describe Amaziah’s reign in Judah.
20 Amaziah, king of Judah (14:1-22). Amaziah does what is upright in Jehovah’s eyes, but he fails to destroy the high places used for worship. He is defeated in war by Jehoash of Israel. After a 29-year reign, he is killed in a conspiracy. Azariah his son is made king in his place.
21. What occurs during the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel?
21 Jeroboam II, king of Israel (14:23-29). The second Jeroboam to be king in Israel continues in the false worship of his forefather. He reigns in Samaria for 41 years and is successful in winning back Israel’s lost territories. Zechariah his son becomes his successor on the throne.
22. What is related concerning Azariah’s reign in Judah?
22 Azariah (Uzziah), king of Judah (15:1-7). Azariah rules for 52 years. He is upright before Jehovah but fails to destroy the high places. Later, Jehovah plagues him with leprosy, and his son Jotham takes care of the royal duties, becoming king on Azariah’s death.
23. With what evils is Israel plagued as the Assyrian menace arises?
23 Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah, kings of Israel (15:8-31). According to Jehovah’s promise, the throne of Israel remains in the house of Jehu to the fourth generation, Zechariah. (10:30) Accordingly, he becomes king in Samaria, and six months later an assassin strikes him down. Shallum, the usurper, lasts only one month. False worship, assassination, and intrigue continue to plague Israel as kings Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah pass in procession. During Pekah’s reign Assyria closes in for the kill. Hoshea assassinates Pekah, to become Israel’s last king.
24. After Jotham, how does Ahaz of Judah sin as to worship?
24 Jotham and Ahaz, kings of Judah (15:32–16:20). Jotham practices pure worship but lets the high places continue. Ahaz his son imitates the kings of neighboring Israel by practicing what is bad in Jehovah’s eyes. Under attack by the kings of Israel and Syria, he appeals to the king of Assyria for help. The Assyrians come to his aid, capturing Damascus, and Ahaz goes there to meet the king of Assyria. Seeing the altar of worship there, Ahaz has one erected in Jerusalem according to the same pattern, and he begins sacrificing on it instead of on the copper altar at Jehovah’s temple. His son Hezekiah becomes king of Judah as his successor.
25. How does Israel go into captivity, and why?
25 Hoshea, last king of Israel (17:1-41). Israel now comes under the power of Assyria. Hoshea rebels and seeks help from Egypt, but in the ninth year of his reign, Israel is conquered by Assyria and is carried into captivity. Thus ends the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. Why? “Because the sons of Israel had sinned against Jehovah their God . . . And they continued to serve dungy idols, concerning which Jehovah had said to them: ‘You must not do this thing’; therefore Jehovah got very incensed against Israel, so that he removed them from his sight.” (17:7, 12, 18) The Assyrians bring in people from the east to settle the land, and these become ‘fearers of Jehovah,’ though they continue to worship their own gods.—17:33.
26, 27. (a) How does Hezekiah of Judah do right in Jehovah’s eyes? (b) How does Jehovah answer Hezekiah’s prayer in turning back the Assyrians? (c) What further fulfillment does Isaiah’s prophecy have?
26 Hezekiah, king of Judah (18:1–20:21). Hezekiah does what is right in Jehovah’s eyes, according to all that David his forefather had done. He roots out false worship and tears down the high places, and because the people now worship it, he even destroys the copper serpent Moses made. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, now invades Judah and captures many fortified cities. Hezekiah tries to buy him off with a heavy tribute, but Sennacherib sends his messenger Rabshakeh, who comes up to the walls of Jerusalem and demands surrender and mocks Jehovah within the hearing of all the people. The prophet Isaiah reassures faithful Hezekiah with a message of doom against Sennacherib. “This is what Jehovah has said: ‘Do not be afraid.’” (19:6) As Sennacherib continues to threaten, Hezekiah implores Jehovah: “And now, O Jehovah our God, save us, please, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Jehovah, are God alone.”—19:19.
27 Does Jehovah answer this unselfish prayer? First, through Isaiah, he sends the message that “the very zeal of Jehovah of armies” will turn back the enemy. (19:31) Then, that same night, he sends his angel to strike down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. In the morning ‘all of them are dead carcasses.’ (19:35) Sennacherib returns in defeat and takes up dwelling in Nineveh. There his god Nisroch fails him once more, for it is while he is bowed in worship that his own sons kill him, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.—19:7, 37.
28. For what is Hezekiah renowned, but in what does he sin?
28 Hezekiah becomes deathly ill, but Jehovah again heeds his prayer and prolongs his life an additional 15 years. The king of Babylon sends messengers with gifts, and Hezekiah presumes to show them all his treasure house. Isaiah then prophesies that everything in his house will one day be carried to Babylon. Hezekiah then dies, renowned for his mightiness and for the tunnel that he built to bring Jerusalem’s water supply into the city.
29. What idolatry does Manasseh institute, what calamity does Jehovah foretell, and what further sin does Manasseh commit?
29 Manasseh, Amon, and Josiah, kings of Judah (21:1–23:30). Manasseh succeeds his father, Hezekiah, and reigns 55 years, doing bad in Jehovah’s eyes on a large scale. He restores the high places of false worship, sets up altars to Baal, makes a sacred pole as Ahab did, and makes Jehovah’s house a place of idolatry. Jehovah foretells that he will bring calamity on Jerusalem as he has done on Samaria, “wiping it clean and turning it upside down.” Manasseh also sheds innocent blood “in very great quantity.” (21:13, 16) He is succeeded by his son Amon, who continues to do bad for two years, until struck down by assassins.
30. Why and how does Josiah return to Jehovah with all his heart?
30 The people now make Amon’s son Josiah king. During his 31-year reign, he briefly reverses Judah’s plunge toward destruction ‘by walking in all the way of David his forefather.’ (22:2) He begins repairs on the house of Jehovah, and there the high priest finds the book of the Law. This confirms that destruction will come on the nation for its disobedience to Jehovah, but Josiah is assured that because of his faithfulness, it will not come in his day. He purges the house of Jehovah and the entire land of demon worship and extends his idol-smashing activity to Bethel, where he destroys Jeroboam’s altar in fulfillment of the prophecy at 1 Kings 13:1, 2. He reinstitutes the Passover to Jehovah. “Like him there did not prove to be a king prior to him who returned to Jehovah with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his vital force, according to all the law of Moses.” (23:25) Nevertheless, Jehovah’s anger still burns because of Manasseh’s offenses. Josiah dies in an encounter with the king of Egypt at Megiddo.
31. What setbacks befall Judah following Josiah’s death?
31 Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin, kings of Judah (23:31–24:17). After a three-month reign, Josiah’s son Jehoahaz is taken captive by the king of Egypt, and his brother Eliakim, whose name is changed to Jehoiakim, is placed on the throne. He follows in the wrong course of his forefathers and becomes subject to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, but rebels against him after three years. At Jehoiakim’s death his son Jehoiachin begins to reign. Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem, captures it, and carries the treasures of the house of Jehovah to Babylon, “just as Jehovah had spoken” by Isaiah. (24:13; 20:17) Jehoiachin and thousands of his subjects are carried into exile in Babylon.
32. What dramatic events lead up to the desolation of Jerusalem and of the land?
32 Zedekiah, last king of Judah (24:18–25:30). Nebuchadnezzar makes Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah king and changes his name to Zedekiah. He reigns 11 years in Jerusalem and continues to do bad in Jehovah’s eyes. He rebels against Babylon, so in Zedekiah’s ninth year, Nebuchadnezzar and his entire army come up and build a siege wall all around Jerusalem. After 18 months the city is ravaged by famine. The walls are then breached, and Zedekiah is captured while trying to flee. His sons are slaughtered before him, and he is blinded. In the next month, all the principal houses of the city, including the house of Jehovah and the king’s house, are burned and the city walls demolished. Most of the survivors are carried off captive to Babylon. Gedaliah is appointed governor over the few lowly ones who remain in the countryside of Judah. However, he is assassinated, and the people flee to Egypt. Thus, from the seventh month of 607 B.C.E., the land lies utterly desolate. The final words of Second Kings tell of the favor the king of Babylon shows to Jehoiachin in the 37th year of his captivity.
33. What fine examples are provided in Second Kings for us to follow?
33 Though it covers the fatal decline of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, Second Kings sparkles with many examples of Jehovah’s blessing on individuals who showed love for him and his right principles. Like the widow of Zarephath before her, the Shunammite woman received an abundant blessing for her hospitality shown to God’s prophet. (4:8-17, 32-37) Jehovah’s ability always to provide was shown when Elisha fed a hundred men from 20 loaves, even as Jesus was to perform similar miracles later. (2 Ki. 4:42-44; Matt. 14:16-21; Mark 8:1-9) Note how Jehonadab received a blessing in being invited to go along in Jehu’s chariot to see the destruction of the Baal worshipers. And why? Because he took positive action in coming out to greet the zealous Jehu. (2 Ki. 10:15, 16) Finally, there are the splendid examples of Hezekiah and Josiah, in their humility and proper respect for Jehovah’s name and Law. (19:14-19; 22:11-13) These are splendid examples for us to follow.
34. What does Second Kings teach us regarding respect for official servants and regarding bloodguilt?
34 Jehovah tolerates no disrespect for his official servants. When the delinquents mocked Elisha as the prophet of Jehovah, He brought swift recompense. (2:23, 24) Moreover, Jehovah respects the blood of the innocent. His judgment rested heavily on Ahab’s house not only because of Baal worship but also because of the bloodshed that accompanied it. Thus, Jehu was anointed to avenge “the blood of all the servants of Jehovah at the hand of Jezebel.” When judgment was executed against Jehoram, Jehu remembered Jehovah’s pronouncement that it was on account of “the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons.” (9:7, 26) Likewise, it was Manasseh’s bloodguilt that finally sealed Judah’s doom. Adding to his sin of false worship, Manasseh ‘filled Jerusalem with blood from end to end.’ Even though Manasseh later repented of his bad course, bloodguilt remained. (2 Chron. 33:12, 13) Not even the good reign of Josiah, and his putting away of all idolatry, could wipe out the community bloodguilt carrying over from Manasseh’s reign. Years later, when Jehovah began to bring his executioners up against Jerusalem, he declared that it was because Manasseh had “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and Jehovah did not consent to grant forgiveness.” (2 Ki. 21:16; 24:4) Likewise, Jesus declared that the Jerusalem of the first century C.E. had to perish because its priests were the sons of those who shed the blood of the prophets, ‘that there may come upon them all the righteous blood spilled on earth.’ (Matt. 23:29-36) God warns the world that he will avenge the innocent blood that has been shed, especially the blood “of those slaughtered because of the word of God.”—Rev. 6:9, 10.
35. (a) How are Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah confirmed to be true prophets? (b) In connection with Elijah, what does Peter say as to prophecy?
35 The unerring sureness with which Jehovah brings his prophetic judgments to fulfillment is also shown in Second Kings. Three leading prophets are brought to our attention, Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah. The prophecies of each one are shown to have striking fulfillments. (2 Ki. 9:36, 37; 10:10, 17; 3:14, 18, 24; 13:18, 19, 25; 19:20, 32-36; 20:16, 17; 24:13) Elijah is also confirmed as a true prophet in his appearing with the prophet Moses and the Great Prophet, Jesus Christ, in the transfiguration on the mountain. (Matt. 17:1-5) Referring to the magnificence of that occasion, Peter said: “Consequently we have the prophetic word made more sure; and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts.”—2 Pet. 1:19.
36. Why did Jehovah show his people mercy, and how is our confidence in the Kingdom of the Seed deepened?
36 The events recorded in Second Kings clearly reveal that Jehovah’s judgment against all practicers of false religion and all willful shedders of innocent blood is extermination. Yet, Jehovah showed favor and mercy to his people “for the sake of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (2 Ki. 13:23) He preserved them “for the sake of David his servant.” (8:19) He will show like mercy to those who turn to him in this day. As we review the Bible record and promises, with what deepening confidence we look forward to the Kingdom of the “son of David,” Jesus Christ the promised Seed, in which bloodshed and wickedness will be no more!—Matt. 1:1; Isa. 2:4; Ps. 145:20.