Q&A1998Q4D

I AND II KINGS

How did the people of Israel get to where they are in the books of I and II Kings, and what happened to put them there?

The books of I & II Kings in particular set forth the historical record of Israel undergoing the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and the beginning of the 5th courses of punishment described in Leviticus 26. When God brought Israel out of Egypt the nation opted for God to deal with them on the basis of the Law Covenant they made with Him at Mount Sinai. That Law Covenant was a performance contract. If they performed its commandments, statutes, judgments, and the like, they would be blessed by God, both personally and nationally. However, if they failed to perform and did not keep the covenant, then they would be cursed and punished by God, both personally and nationally. In Leviticus 26 the terms of the covenant regarding the national blessings and cursings are set forth, with verses 14ff describing the way in which the national curses would come.

Briefly put, Leviticus 26:14ff sets forth a total of 5 courses of punishment that Israel would experience if they failed to comply with the Law Covenant. By the time you get to I Kings Israel has already experienced the 1st course of punishment. The book of Judges, along with Ruth, and the first part of I Samuel deal with Israel under the 1st course of punishment. Before beginning to bring the 2nd course of punishment upon them, (which the nation merited), God gave Israel a merciful time of unmerited blessing under David and Solomon. This He did for the purposes set forth in the Davidic Covenant. Near the end of Solomon’s reign, however, (as set forth in I Kings 11), Solomon plunged the nation back into rebelliousness, and the 2nd course of punishment described in Leviticus 26 arrived. The 2nd course was followed by the 3rd, the 4th, and then the 5th course arrived, the beginning of which called for Israel to be taken by captivity out of their land, which is what the account of II Kings concludes with.

The books of I & II Kings, therefore, set forth the historical record of Israel coming under the effects of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and the beginning of the 5th courses of punishment of the Law Covenant in God’s program with Israel.

– K.R. Blades