2 Kings ends with the nation of Israel carried off into exile. Shortly after Solomon’s reign the nation having no one else to fight, turned on itself and split in two. Ten tribes making up the northern kingdom kept the name Israel for itself, and the southern kingdom took the name Judah and remained in the lineage of David. The Assyrians overwhelmed the northern kingdom and the Babylonians forced the southern kingdom into exile. There were remnants of the historical tribes that were left by these invaders in both the northern and southern kingdoms. Why does the nation divide and why do they lose control of the Promised Land?
Remember the Blessing that Yahweh spoke to Moses: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites” (Exodus 19:5-6). The Ten Commandments followed the ordinances, the sacrifices and all that would fulfill the discipline to be a priestly nation. A nation that Yahweh had chosen; a nation to draw all of man back to Himself. In Deuteronomy the Lord also speaks about the Curse: “That very day, my anger will blaze against them; I shall desert them and hide my face from them. A host of disasters and misfortunes will overtake them to devour them, and when that day comes they will say, ‘If such disasters overtake me, surely Yahweh my God cannot be with me?’ Yes indeed, I shall hide my face that day, on account of all the evil which they will have done by turning to other gods.”
There were a few good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah, but very few. The fidelity of the people and their leaders to completely love and honor God was always in a lapse when history views them as a whole. Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra and Jeremiah will all become important prophets during this time and their prophecies will be fulfilled on into the New Testament. God had provided everything to the Israelites, yet they squandered it all. It was simply too hard to make their adventures Yahweh’s adventures.
“In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month — it was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon — Nebuzaradan commander of the guard, a member of the king of Babylon’s staff, entered Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of Yahweh, the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem” (2 Kings 25:8-9). True love requires discipline, if it’s really true love. Ain’t it so!