Bible Query from 2 Kings
August 2014 version. Copyright (c) Christian Debater(tm) 1997-2014. All rights reserved except as given in the copyright notice.
Q: In 2 Ki 1:2, why did Ahaziah send to Ekron to inquire of Baal-Zebub when there were plenty of Baal worshippers in Judah?
A: Ekron, in Philistia, actually was very close to Samaria, only about 40 miles away. One might say it was too close, as Ekron was a prominent center of Baal worship. Also, as The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.172 points out, kings often have their rivals and enemies, and perhaps Ahaziah wanted to keep both his accident and his consulting of Baal a secret.
Q: In 2 Ki 1:9-15, why did those 100 men die?
A: The loyal soldiers were just carrying out orders. They would obey their captain, who had no respect for God or Elijah, commanding Elijah to come down [or else]. When someone is a part of an evil group, and just carrying out orders, they suffer the consequence of their foolishly placed loyalty. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.126-127 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 2:9, why did Elisha ask for a double portion?
A: This most likely does not mean that Elisha asked to be twice as great as Elijah. Rather, Elisha thought of Elijah like a father. When a father died, usually each of his sons received one portion, except the oldest son, (or one designated with the right of the firstborn). This son received a double portion, and that is for what Elisha was asking. See Today’s Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.274 and What You Know Might Not Be So : 220 Misinterpretations of the Bible Texts Explained p.52 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 2:12, why did Elisha called Elijah his father, since Jesus said in Matt 23:9 to call no man your father?
A: Regardless of whether this is what Jesus prohibited, Elisha said this hundreds of years before Jesus gave the command. By his teaching, wisdom, and close presence, Elijah was as a father to Elisha. This does not mean Elijah was his father biologically though.
Q: In 2 Ki 2:23-24, what precisely does the Hebrew say here?
A: There are three key Hebrew words here:
Speak evil of: According to New International Bible Commentary p.421 the Hebrew word for curse here is not herem, meaning "devote to destruction", but qalal, meaning "speak evil of".
Mauled: The bear "tore" the 42 young men according to Green's Literal Translation. The KJV says "tare", which is the archaic form of "tore". "Mauled" is the term in the NKJV, NIV, NRSV, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.174, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.542, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.393, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.127. the NET has "ripped … to pieces". 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.330 believes this means the youths were killed.
Young men: The Hebrew means a 17-year old like Joseph (Genesis 37:2), younger children or men up to around 20.
Q: In 2 Ki 2:23-25, why were those 42 youths mauled by bears?
A: Two points to consider in the answer. Contrary to what some atheists have asserted, Elisha does not bear the responsibility for the bears. They were sent directly by God. The Hebrew word for "youth can include 20-year olds, and the youths apparently were a gang. The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.307 adds that the word your "youth" here can mean a young child (2 Kings 5:14), but it is the same word used of Joseph at 17 years old, (Genesis 37:2), and the trained men in Abram's army (Genesis 14:24). The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.178 says that ferocious bears, Ursus Syriacus, were common in Palestine at this time.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.127 When Critics Ask p.191-192, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.232-234, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.205, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.328-330, What You Know Might Not Be So : 220 Misinterpretations of Bible Texts Explained p.60-61, Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.270, and The Communicator's Commentary 1, 2 Kings p.272-273 for essentially the same answer.
Q: In 2 Ki 3:1, how do you pronounce the name of King Jehoram?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.889 pronounces it as je-HOR-am with a long "e", a carat (^) over the "o", and a dot over the "a".
Q: In 2 Ki 3:1, did Jehoram become king of Israel in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat of Judah, or the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat in 2 Ki 1:17?
A: Both are true, understanding that the kings practiced co-regency. This occurred in 852 B.C., which was the 18th year of Jehoshaphat's sole rule, which was in 870/869 B.C. and Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat's starting to rule in 854/853 B.C. See When Critics Ask p.191 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.173 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 3:4, what archaeological evidence do we have of King Mesha of Moab?
A: The Moabite stone (850 B.C.) corroborates Jehoram's invasion of Moab.
It says "I am Mesha, son of Chemosh (the Moabite god), king of Moab…. My father was king of Moab for thirty years and I became king after my father: and I built this sanctuary to Chemosh in Qerihoh [Kir-Haraseth the capital], a sanctuary of refuge: for he saved me from all my oppressors and gave me dominion over all my enemies. Omri was king of Israel and oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with his land. And his son succeeded him and he also said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he said this: but I got the upper hand of him and his house: and Israel perished for ever…. I have had the ditches of Qerihoh dug by Israelite prisoners…." (taken from The Bible As History p.237)
The Moabite stone says the Israelites were defeated. 2 Kings 3:27 says they withdrew, but they would not have withdrawn if they were not defeated. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1145-1146 for more info on the Moabite stone, and A General Introduction to the Bible p.335 for a photograph.
Q: In 2 Ki 3:17, how did they find water?
A: According to The Bible as History p.238, if trenches are dug beside the Red Sea, they fill up with water coming from the highland plateau. The water is red, because of passing through the reddish soil.
Q: In 2 Ki 3:18-19, why did God command the Israelites to cut down every Moabite tree, since Dt 20:19 says the Israelites were not to cut down fruit trees to make siege works?
A: First what is not the answer, and then the answer.
Not only in Canaan: The context of Deuteronomy 20:10-20 is both nations that are far away as well as the Canaanites. It would be incorrect to say Deuteronomy 20:19 did not apply to lands outside of Canaan.
Siege works: Deuteronomy 20:19, gives the rules for besieging a city, and what kind of wood can be used for the siege works. The Israelites were not besieging the cities when they were cutting down these trees.
When Critics Ask p.192 gives a different answer.
Q: In 2 Ki 3:27, why did the Israelites withdraw after the Moabite king sacrificed his son to his gods?
A: There are three possible complementary reasons.
Desperation: The Israelites and Edomites had already inflicted severe damage on Moab. This sacrifice made the remaining Moabites fight more furiously, and perhaps the Israelite / Judean / Edomite army, already dispersed to put rocks on the fields, did not expect this level of resistance and did not think it worthwhile to fight the last defenders. This does not correspond with what the Moabites said on the Moabite stone though.
Persuade the Edomites: The Edomites fought Moab here too, and perhaps being this desperate would persuade the Edomites to break their alliance with Israel and Judah. The NIV Study Bible p.528 also gives this reason.
Hostage: Related to the previous reason, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.127-128 says that Jewish commentators said that Judah, Israel, and Edom as a vassal of Judah warred against Moab. The king's son that was killed was the son of Edom's king, who was held as a hostage in Moab. After this occurred the Edomites withdrew from the alliance, and Israel and Judah withdrew.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.234 for a somewhat different answer.
Q: In 2 Ki 4:29, why would Elijah want his staff placed on the boy's body?
A: While scripture does not say, this indicates that Elijah would come if the boy did not revive. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.186 has the interesting speculation that this would ensure the townspeople would not bury the boy.
Q: In 2 Ki 4:42, how do you pronounce the town of "Baal-shalishah"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.186 pronounces this as bal-SHAL-I-sha, with the first "a" long, the second "a" short, a short "I", and a dot over the last "a". Cruden's Concordance pronounces it with an additional syllable, as BA-al-SHAL-I-sha, with the first "a" long, the second and third "a’s" short, the "i" short, and a carat (^) over the last "a".
In general, some such as the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.186 pronounce Baal as "bal" with a long "a", and others, such as the Cruden's Concordance, pronounce it as "Ba-al" with the first "a" long and the second "a" short.
Q: Does 2 Ki 5:10-15 indicate that New Testament baptism by immersion for remission of sins is essential to salvation, since Naaman was not cleansed of leprosy until he washed in the Jordan River?
A: No, this is a huge stretch by some who look to water for their salvation.
a) This act of faith was for cleansing from leprosy, not salvation.
b) It does not matter what river, or baptism water you use. But here it had to specifically be the Jordan River to make a point to Naaman.
c) There was no water baptism in the Old Testament.
d) Finally, if someone tried to make it relate to baptism, then Naaman did not know for sure there was only one God except the God of Israel until AFTER he washed in the Jordan in 2 Kings 5:15.
Q: In 2 Ki 5:12, where are the Abana and Pharpar rivers?
A: The Abana is the Barada River, which flows through the city of Damascus. The Pharpar (or Parpar) is uncertain, but The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.780 says it possibly is the Awaj, which rises east of Mount Hermon. It also points out that Naaman did not say the rivers were near Damascus, but rather they were rivers of Damascus, that is belonging to the territory controlled by Damascus.
Q: In 2 Ki 5:18, do we have any archaeological evidence of the Aramaean god Rimmon?
A: Yes, Assyrian records called this god Ramanu (the thunderer). Also, the father of Ben-Hadad I was named Tabrimmon in 1 Kings 15:18. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.192 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:5-7, how could an iron axe-head miraculously float in water?
A: God Almighty can supersede the laws of nature more surely than a magnet can. Conservative commentators agree there is no reason to doubt this, as is shown by The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.521, The NIV Study Bible p.533, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.549, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.397, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.354.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:13, how do you pronounce the city of "Dothan"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.472 pronounces this city, 11 miles from Samaria, as "DO-than" with a long "o" and a dot over the "a". Cruden's Concordance pronounces it as "DO-than" with a long "o" and a short "a".
Q: In 2 Ki 6:15, who was Elisha's servant here?
A: There are two possibilities.
Gehazi was the servant, and 2 Kings 6:15 tells of the time prior to Gehazi becoming leprous. Nothing in 2 Kings indicates this was after the previous narrative.
A replacement Elisha hired in Gehazi’s place. It is highly unlikely that Gehazi would continue to serve Elisha, and see other people, after he was leprous.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.549 mentions both views. The Nelson Study Bible p.617-618 says that Gehazi was telling the king of Elisha's great things in 2 Kings 8:4, so Gehazi did not forget Elisha.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:18, how could the Syrian troops be miraculously blinded, and yet still follow Elisha?
A: The Communicator's Bible Commentary 1, 2 Kings p.317-318 says that the Hebrew word here (canver) can mean either blindness or confused vision, seeing things that are not there or not seeing things that are there.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:19, did Elisha lie to the Syrian troops?
A: No, Elisha's statement was completely true. They would see Elisha in Samaria. They were seeking Elisha, and Elisha would bring them the one they were seeking. It is agreed that Elisha's answer was very misleading though. Similarly, when Samuel went to anoint David as king, he gave an answer that was the truth, but he misled them by not revealing all the information. When evil people are seeking to kill those who oppose them, 1 Samuel 16:1-5 shows that misleading evil people is a good thing.
See the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.205-206, When Critics Ask p.193, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.234-235 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:21-23, why were the Syrian enemy not killed here?
A: The Israelites would not have captured the Syrians without God's help, and God commanded that they be fed and released. The Syrians were not Canaanites, so the Israelites were permitted to make treaties with them and let them live. Furthermore, this way, the Syrians were not killed for following a prophet of God. This also was smart politics, for by having the captured Syrians telling others what happened, the Israelites had rest from Syrian raiders for a while. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.235 for a somewhat different answer.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:23, how did the Syrian raiders not come into Israel any more, since the Syrian King Ben-Hadad gathered up his army and besieged Samaria, the capital of Israel, as 2 Ki 6:24 says?
A: These two verses being so close to each other gives the answer. After the miracle, in 2 Kings 6:23 the Syrian raiders did not enter Israel for awhile. After a period of time, the Syrian king himself gathered his army and entered Israel. See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.163 for more info. The NIV Study Bible p.534 also mentions that the Aramaeans' resolve was only temporary.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:25 (NIV), what are "seed pods?
A: The Hebrew word here is literally "dove droppings". There are four views here.
a) It literally said "dove dung". Nothing prevents this from being true. 2 Kings does not say what the dove dropping were used for, and The Nelson Study Bible p.618 said they might have been used for fuel.
b) Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews 9.62.4 (written about 93-94 A.D.) guessed it was a substitute for salt, but there is nothing to support this.
c) The Believer's Bible Commentary p.397-397 says it was an edible bulb, known today as the "Star of Bethlehem". What You Know Might Not Be So : 220 Misinterpretations of the Bible Explained p.52 also has this view.
d) Alternately it might be a copyist error, replaces four letters with two, for carob seed pods. The NIV Study Bible p.534, gives this view. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.550 says that normally seed pods were only used for animal feed.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.198 and The Communicator's Commentary 1, 2, Kings p.321 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 6:31, which king of Israel wanted to behead Elisha?
A: This would be Joram. Remember, you have to keep straight the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel (Ahab, Joram, Jehu, etc.) and the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah (Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, etc.) Bear in mind that Joram king of Judah and Jehoram king of Israel are two different people. Ahab had died in 2 Kings 1:1, and Joram his son was in his 5th year of reign in 2 Kings 8:16. Now while it is not required that 2 Kings 8:7-15 is chronological, the narratives typically would be, so the 2 Kings 6:31 would be on or before the fifth year of the reign of Joram.
By the way, Joram was not the only one after Elisha. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab and presumably Joram's mother wanted to have Elijah killed and so probably Elisha too.
Q: In 2 Ki 7:2, who was the "lord, on whose hand the king leaned"?
A: According to The Bible As History p.233 the Hebrew word Shlish, translated as Lord, comes from the word for "Three". Assyrian sculptures show that chariots had three people: the driver, the fighter, and a man who stood behind them holding on to two short straps on either side of the chariot. The third man protected the others from arrows, and helped to prevent them from being thrown out when the chariot careened around and over dead and wounded men. He could also take the place of the driver or fighter if one was put out of action.
Q: In 2 Ki 8:15, do we have any extra-Biblical evidence of Hazael, the usurping king of Syria?
A: Yes. According to The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.201, Hazael is mentioned more than once in the annals of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, where he is called "son of a nobody".
Q: In 2 Ki 8:25, did Ahaziah of Judah become king in Jehoram’s twelfth year, or in his eleventh year in 2 Ki 9:29?
A: Both are true, since it depends on the counting system in use. Ahaziah succeeded Jehoram in 841 B.C. as The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.203 says. According to the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.206 and When Critics Ask p.192, in the non-accession-year system, which the northern kingdom of Israel used at this time, the first year includes the entire year containing the day the prince became king. The southern kingdom of Judah at this time used the accession-year system. According to this system, the first year did not start until the Jewish New Year following the day of coronation. That would make the years of every king additive.
Q: In 2 Ki 8:26, was Ahaziah 22 years old when he began to reign, or was he 42 years, as 2 Chr 22:2 in the Masoretic text says?
A: 2 Chronicles 22:2 in the Masoretic text is a copyist’s error, because if Ahaziah was 42 years old, he would have been born two years before his father was born! 2 Chronicles 22:2 says "22" years old in some Septuagint manuscripts and the Syriac, according to the NIV footnote. This does not mean the Bible had an error in the original manuscripts, only that unimportant scribal errors can slip in the copies.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.128, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.206-207, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 4 p.203 and 508, Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.163-164, and the New International Bible Commentary p.474, and When Critics Ask p.194, for essentially the same answer. Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.164 adds that in both this copyist error and 2 Kings 24:8 (18) and 2 Chronicles 36:9-10 (8), the tens digit was missed. Numbers written in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah had horizontal and vertical strokes, and if a manuscript was blurred or smudged, one of the strokes would be missed.
Q: In 2 Ki 9:1, who were the sons of the prophets?
A: It probably does not mean biological sons of the prophets, but more likely means prophets in training. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.128 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 9:1 and 1 Ki 22:3, how do you pronounce the town of "Ramoth-gilead"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1442 pronounces it as "RA-moth-GIL-e-ad", with the first a long, a short o and short i, and long e, and a dot over the last a. Cruden's Concordance says the same, except is has the last a short.
Q: In 2 Ki 9:7-9, why did God direct Jehu to kill the king?
A: In general, we are to respect and honor our government leaders as Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 show.
2 Kings 9:7 says God directed Jehu in order to avenge the blood of the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel. Apparently, God saw that their right to rule over God's kingdom was abdicated by the extent of their evil. Scripture does not specify the point at which this occurred, but perhaps it was after Jezebel and Ahab killed Naboth in cold blood for his vineyard and tried to hunt down God's prophets, including Elijah.
When a leader does more than make a mistake, but does something that causes his people to lose their respect for him and trust in him, there is generally no turning back from that.
Q: In 2 Ki 9:11, why did Jehu downplay what the prophet said?
A: It could be that Jehu did not put much faith in the prophet's words, but this is unlikely. Jehu had just heard this, and he himself probably had not yet made up his mind. Rather, he was saying this to the other officers so that he would not have to make a commitment, at least not in public.
Q: In 2 Ki 9:30, why did Jezebel put makeup on her face here?
A: She knew she was going to die, and she wanted to look good in death. Her wish was not fulfilled, though.
Q: In 2 Ki 10:1-3, why did Jehu write the leaders this way?
A: Jehu very boldly wrote to them to encourage them to come out and fight him, almost with the attitude of "I'm eager to get this over with." Words are said to be ironic when the stated meaning is the opposite of the meaning the words communicate. Jehu actually was trying to intimidate them so that they would yield to him without a fight, and that is what happened.
Q: In 2 Ki 10:1-17, why is this history of Jehu in the Bible?
A: Hosea 1:4 says that Jehu sinned with shedding all this blood. 2 Kings is part of the history of God's people, and it records not just the good and pleasant things they did, but also the ruthless sins they committed. 2 Kings 10:31 says that Jehu did not really follow God's ways. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia vol.6 p.38 shows a panel of the Black Obelisk where Jehu or an emissary bows before Shalmaneser II (859-824 B.C.)
Q: In 2 Ki 10:4, why did Jehu's killing two kings in a surprise attack convince the Samaritans to think Jehu was so strong?
A: Merely killing two individuals does not prove anyone is a great military leader. However, they were kings, and it was not just the killing of the kings, but him getting away with it, and having the support of the people, that made afraid those whom the dead kings favored. Often in politics, psychological effects are important.
Q: In 2 Ki 10:18-28, why did Jehu deceptively pretend to worship Baal and lie to others?
A: Jehu consistently used wrong and ruthless means to carry out what were good intentions. First of all, the Bible never approved of Jehu's actions, and 2 Kings 10:31 says that Jehu did not follow God with all his heart and Hosea 1:4 shows that Jehu sinned by shedding so much blood. Jehu was highly focused on his goal, of ridding the land of evil. He wanted to do so by any means, even evil means (as strange as that sounds).
This is very instructive to us today. Sometimes a person's hatred of evil and ungodliness can be greater than their love and obedience to God. Disobeying God, even in the name of God, is not serving God, only giving God's servants a bad name.
Q: In 2 Ki 10:29-31, why did Jehu not stop the worship of the golden calves?
A: Apparently while ridding the land of an evil dynasty was a top priority for him, ridding the land of false gods was not. One effect of continued entrenched sin in a culture is that everyone, even sometimes believers, get used to it, and becomes blind to the fact that it is a sin.
Q: In 2 Ki 11:1-12, why did the priest Jehoiada resort to strategy and cunning to accomplish God’s will?
A: One could ask, why did Samson have to use strength to accomplish God's will, or why did Paul have to use wisdom to preach the Gospel. God's servants are to use many means to carry out his will, and there is nothing wrong with using cunning, though we are not to sin. David used cunning to accomplish God's will, and God ordered Samuel to use cunning to accomplish God's will in 1 Samuel 16:2-5.
Q: In 2 Ki 11:2, how do you pronounce the name of the King Jehoram's daughter, "Jehosheba"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.891 pronounces her name as "je-HOSH-e-ba" with the first "e" long, the "o" and second "e" short, and a dot over the "a". Cruden's Concordance pronounces it as "je-HOSH-e-ba" with the first "e" long, a short "o", the second "e" long, and a carat (^) over the "a".
Q: In 2 Ki 11:2, Joash was hidden to protect him from Athaliah's idolatrous upbringing, and Athaliah did not want to kill Joash, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.387 says might be conceivable?
A: Asimov had an active imagination, but no, this was not the case. Joash's mother was not from the Phoenician line. according to 2 Chronicles 24:1, she was named Zibiah hailing from Beersheba in the extreme south of Judah. Regardless, 2 Kings 11:1 clearly says that Athaliah wanted to kill the entire royal family.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.217 says that since Joash had a different mother, perhaps his birth was unnoticed by Athaliah, and thus he was not missed.
Q: In 2 Ki 11:15, why should Athaliah not be killed in the Temple area?
A: Jehoiada the priest felt that the Temple was not the proper place for a person's blood to be spilled. Since this was God's will, it probably was OK to execute her there, but there was nothing wrong with Jehoiada’s reverence for the temple.
Q: In 2 Ki 11:18, since the godly Israelites destroyed idolatrous altars and images, when, if at all, should Christians destroy idolatrous altars and images?
A: While Scripture does not say, we can see three principles here.
1. Christians are to destroy any and every idolatrous altar and image they might own.
2. The Old Testament believers lived under a theocratic government, and under those laws all idolatrous altars and image were to be destroyed.
3. In the New Testament, Christians lived in a Greco-Roman culture filled with evil images and altars. Nevertheless, these Christians never destroyed other people's things. Only much later did Orthodox Franks and warlike, heretical Arian Goths destroy many idol statues and altars.
Q: In 2 Ki 12:9, was the chest put beside the altar, on the right side as one comes in, or at the gate of the temple as 2 Chronicles 24:8 says?
A: Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews 126.96.36.199 (c. 93-94 A.D.) also says beside the altar on the right side. While we do not know for certain, there are three complementary answers.
One location: It could be at the gate of the Temple, and also beside the altar, separated from the altar by a wall.
Two locations: Jehoiada could have first put it beside the altar, and later King Joash commanded it be put at the gate of the temple.
Multiple chests could be in different locations.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.223 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 12:15; 2 Ki 22:7, were they right not to keep any accounting with the men doing the work?
A: This shows the men were completely trustworthy. However, Jesus told us to be as shrewd as serpents yet as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Many large Christian organizations today are a part of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (EFCA). Organizations that are a part of this bear the EFCA seal, and have their books audited at least once a year by an independent outside accounting firm.
Q: In 2 Ki 12:17, when did this Aramaean invasion of Judah occur?
A: Invasions often took place when a king died, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.222 speculates that the invasion took place when Samsi-Adad V of Assyria died in 811 B.C. and the Queen Semiramis became regent.
Q: In 2 Ki 12:17-18, was Joash right to give this money to the Syrians?
A: Scripture does not say that Joash prayed about it, or asked advice from the prophets. Romans 14:23b says that whatever does not come from faith is sin. The Nelson Study Bible p.631 reminds us that Jehoash fell into apostasy after Jehoiada died.
Back then, we cannot have any confidence that Jehoash did the right thing, as he did not even ask God about it. Today, we cannot be confident we are doing the right thing if we do not pray about it either.
As a side note, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.227 says that an Assyrian inscription of Adad-Nirari III at tell Er Rimah mentions "the tribute of Iu’asu (Jehoash) the Samaritan."
Q: In 2 Ki 12:21 was king Joash buried "with his fathers in the city of David.", or was he buried in Jerusalem but not in the tombs of the kings according to 2 Chr 24:25?
A: Both. He was buried in the same city, Jerusalem, as his ancestors were buried, but he was not buried in the tombs of the kings.
Q: In 2 Ki 13:17-19, why was Elisha angry for King Johoash only striking the arrows on the ground three times, since Elisha did not tell him how many times to strike the ground?
A: Elisha apparently was not supposed to tell Johoash how many times to strike the arrows, but Elisha knew that the number of times Joash struck the ground were the number of times they would defeat the Syrians. This was an interesting prophecy, as God did not give it solely to Elisha, but partially through Elisha and partly through Joash striking the ground. Elisha was certainly disappointed that God would not have the Israelites defeat the Syrians more times.
Q: In 2 Ki 13:21, does the man coming to life when touching Elisha's bones support Catholic veneration of relics?
A: No. Four points to consider in the answer.
1. Nobody was worshipping or venerating the bones, they were just sitting there unnoticed.
2. God can use any means He wishes to perform miracles. For example, God can use a bronze snake during the Exodus. However, people sinned when they started worshipping the bronze snake, and eventually the godly king Hezekiah had it destroyed. It was originally for a good purpose, but when it became an idol it was used for a bad purpose.
3. Nothing justifies breaking the second commandment in Exodus 20:4, which prohibits worshipping/venerating any graven images before God.
4. It is interesting to note that throughout the Middle Ages, theologians compiled lists of categories of sins. John Climacus (c.579-649 A.D.) was probably the first. Their categories often were well-thought out, except that they almost universally forgot about the second commandment, not to have any graven images before God.
See When Cultists Ask p.54 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 14:3,7, was Amaziah right to kill 10,000 Edomites, since Dt 23:7 says they were not to abhor Edomites?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
1. Though Amaziah certainly retaliated against the Edomites, the Bible never says that Amaziah abhorred them.
2. The Bible says the Amaziah followed God, but that Amaziah did not do right as David had done.
See When Critics Ask p.195 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 14:7, why did Amaziah want to fight Jehoash and why was Jehoash reluctant?
A: Amaziah at this point thought gaining advantage over Judah was more significant than the risk of the Syrian army. Jehoash did not want to be Amaziah's enemy and thus saw no point in fighting. Fighting would weaken his forces, when he was focused on defeating the Syrians. Sometimes people like Amaziah are looking for things to fight for, but they have no spiritual focus.
Q: In 2 Ki 15:16, why did Menahem rip open the pregnant women?
A: Menahem did very evil things, as 1 Kings 15:18 says. Some people are rather evil, but Menahem was cruel on top of that. The Bible frankly tells us that there are people like that in this world and we should watch out for them.
Q: In 2 Ki 15:27, did Pekah rule over Samaria for 20 years, or only from 739 to 732 B.C. as 2 Ki 15:25,30 show?
A: The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.209-210 says that Pekah actually ruled only from 739-732 B.C.. However Pekah apparently laid claim to be king in 752 B.C., which would be 20 years. However, the Hebrew of 2 Kings 15:27 says Pekah became king, twenty years. It does not say he reigned twenty years. The NIV adds "and reigned", and the NKJV and NASB put "and reigned" in italics, as it is not in the Hebrew.
See When Critics Ask p.196 and Inerrancy p.69 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 15:30, did Jotham reign for at least twenty years, or did Jotham only reign 16 years in 2 Kings 15:33?
A: Both are true, once you understand what a co-regency is. Kings at that time could have a co-regency, where the older king still co-reigned with the younger king. Co-regency had four advantages:
1. It gave the younger king experience while his father could still correct his mistakes
2. More importantly it established the line of succession, so that other princes would not claim the throne after the father died.
3. It discouraged the temptation of the younger prince to kill his father so he could become king earlier.
4. Continuity if the older king became incapacitated. In this case, since Jotham's father Azariah was struck with leprosy, Jotham reigned over his household and judged the people of the land, according to 2 Kings 15:5.
Note that the succession from Solomon to Rehoboam suffered the first problem, and that David's kingship suffered the second and third problems.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.164 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 15:30, did Hoshea reign in Jotham's twentieth year, or in the twelfth year of Ahaz his son as 2 Ki 17:1?
A: This is a combination of a co-regency and a possible copyist error. Hoshea of Israel reigned 732/731 B.C. until the fall of 723/722 B.C. Twenty years earlier, Jotham began ruling when his father became leprous in 750 B.C. After this, there are two views.
According to the New International Bible Commentary p.394, Ahaz began reigning, as a co-regent, in 744 B.C., which is twelve years earlier. This would mean that from 744-739 B.C., Ahaziah, his son Jotham, and Jotham's son Ahaz were all three co-rulers.
Alternately, 12 is a copyist error for 2, and Hoshea began reigning in the second year of Ahaz. This would be 734/733 B.C. From 734 B.C. to Jotham's death in 732/731 B.C., Jotham and Ahaz ruled together. This is the view of Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.165-166.
Q: In 2 Ki 15:32-38, outside of the Bible what evidence do we have of king Jotham?
A: Archaeologists have found a ring at Elath (=Ezion-Geber) with a copper-enclosed seal saying "LYTM" meaning "belonging to Jotham" with a picture of a ram. The ram (Hebrew ‘ayil) might be a symbol of Elath (Hebrew ‘eylat). See the Wycliffe Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology p.236 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 16:3, how did Ahaz make his son "pass through the fire"?
A: This was sickening. This means that he sacrificed his son by burning him to death. It was a common Canaanite practice to sacrifice the firstborn little children this way, and Ahaz was an Israelite king who wanted to practice the religion of the conquered Canaanites. Unfortunately, archaeological findings have shown that a great number of Israelites also practiced the Canaanite religion. We can understand Elijah's feelings that he thought he was all alone.
Q: In 2 Ki 16:6, is the term "Jews" the term only for the returning exiles?
A: While that is the way it is commonly used, in 2 Kings 16:6 the word "Jews" was used for the people of Judah prior to the exile. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.312 says essentially the same thing.
Q: In 2 Ki 16:20a did Ahaz rest with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David, or did he rest with his fathers and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel in 2 Chr 28:27?
A: Both 2 Kings 16:20a and 2 Chronicles 28:27 say Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. But idol-worshipping king Ahaz was not buried in the same tombs as the good kings of Israel (David and Solomon) according to 2 Chronicles 28:27. Being buried with his fathers in 2 Kings 16:20a can mean three things:
They were buried in the same city.
They were buried close by in the same city.
Ahaz was buried adjacent to his idol-worshipping fathers, but not with David and Solomon, kings of Israel. (The other kings were never kings of Israel).
Here are some other examples where kings were buried close by in Jerusalem but not in the same tomb.
Azariah/Uzziah "rested with his fathers and was buried near them in the City of David." 2 Kings 15:7a "rested with his fathers and was buried near them in a field for burial that belonged to the kings, for the people said, ‘He had leprosy.’" 2 Chronicles 26:23
Joash was "buried with his fathers in the City of David" 2 Kings 12:21 "buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings." 2 Chronicles 24:25
Q: In 2 Ki 17:4, who was "So" King of Egypt?
A: This likely was not the name of a king, but a copyist error for "Sais", which was the capital city of Egypt, as The NIV Study Bible p.555 and the New Geneva Study Bible p.542 both say. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1602-1603 says this should read "he had sent messengers to So, to the king of Egypt." The king of Egypt at this time was name Tefnakhte. See the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.210-222 and When Critics Ask p.196 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 17:14, why do some people harden themselves?
A: The NIV translates this as "stiff-necked". The people did not want to change, and they would do almost anything to keep from submitting to God.
Q: In 2 Ki 17:15, how should this be translated?
A: The Hebrew here can mean "worthless", or the word can mean "empty" as The Communicator's Commentary 1, 2 Kings p.212 stresses. In other words, they worshipped empty things, and became empty yourselves. If your life feels empty of value, empty of feelings, or empty of joy, you need to turn to God, the only one who can give you life that is truly life.
Q: In 2 Ki 17:16; 21:3,5; Lev 19:26; 22:27; Dt 18:11-14; and 2 Chr 33:3-6, why is astrology wrong?
A: Some astrology is worship (2 Kings 17:16; 21:3,5; 23:4-5; 2 Chronicles 33:3-6; Jeremiah 19:13), and some astrology is merely foretelling the future (Dt 18:11-4), but all of it is wrong. See the discussion on Matthew 2:1-12 concerning the Magi.
Q: In 2 Ki 17:30, what were the idols Succoth-beroth, Nergal, Ashima, Nibhaz and Tarkak, Adrammelech and Anammeleck?
A: Nergal was an ancient Sumerian idol. Ashima sounds similar to the goddess widely worshipped as Ashtaroth, Ashtarte, Ishtar. We do not know of the other idols, as those cultures did not survive long enough to leave written records of their religion. These conquered peoples trusted in their idols, and both they and their idols were destroyed and forgotten.
Q: In 2 Ki 17:41, how could the nations both fear the true God, since they still serve the idols in 2 Ki 17:41?
A: This verse is not a contradiction, but rather shows the contradictory attitude of these nations. The two parts of this same verse show that they did believe in God. However, they did not believe only in God. People today sometimes want to be Christians, but do not want to give up beliefs, such as New Age, astrology, or universalism, and practices that are contradictory to Christianity.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:1 and 2 Ki 18:13, was the Assyrian invasion of Judah different from the one in 701 B.C.?
A: No. There is an Assyrian inscription on a hexagonal cylinder called the Taylor Prism, dated rather precisely at 701 B.C., recording Sennacherib's raid into Judah. This clay prism appears completely preserved, by looking at a photograph of it in The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.915, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1548, and A Survey of Old Testament Introduction p.347. It is dated 701 B.C..
One might speculate that the 2 Kings 18:13 only records a prior invasion of Judah in the year 714 B.C., because after the death of Ahaz Hezekiah first started co-reigning with his father Ahaz in 729 B.C.. 2 Kings 18:13 says Sennacherib invaded in Hezekiah's fourteenth year.
However, Assyrian records are silent about an invasion of Judah at this time, Assyrian records of 701 B.C. correlate very well with the books of Kings and Chronicles, and there is no need to postulate two invasions to solve this difficulty. Hezekiah first started reigning alone after Ahaz died in 716/715 B.C., and the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's [sole] reign would be exactly 701 B.C.
The Believer's Bible Commentary p.412-413 says that 2 Kings 18:17-19:34 tells of a second Assyrian invasion after 701 B.C.. The Assyrians would be reluctant to record a campaign that was totally unsuccessful. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.263-264 says that Assyrian records tell of Sennacherib making five other subsequent campaigns after 701 B.C., but none of them to Judah.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.573-574, The NIV Study Bible p.558, the New Geneva Study Bible p.545-546, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.412, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.222 and the discussion on 2 Kings 18:13 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:5, were there none after Hezekiah who were like him in trusting God, or in 2 Ki 23:25 was there no king before Josiah like him in turning to the Lord, according to all the law of Moses?
A: Both are true. Hezekiah trusted God under more severe conditions than any other king, when Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem. However, when they had the great Passover celebration in 2 Chronicles 30, they did not fully follow what was said in the law, as there was a shortage of priests that had consecrated themselves. Therefore Josiah did more according to the law of Moses. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.307 and The NIV Study Bible p.559 for essentially the same answer.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:9, why did Shalmaneser besiege Samaria, since the Assyrians had already captured Samaria in 2 Kings 17:5-6?
A: After the Assyrians first captured Samaria, Hezekiah rebelled from Assyria in 2 Kings 18:7 and apparently he captured Samaria.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:9, why were the Assyrians so successful?
A: There were a number of reasons. Their whole culture was geared for war, they had very strongly fortified cities, and they had very effective chariots. However, the biggest advantage was that they had steel weapons and armor, instead of bronze weapons. The Wycliffe Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology p.387-388 says the Assyrians were the first to use steel in both war and peace. It mentions that the swords actually were just iron, but they had a steel edge, and that quenching the steel was first done around 900 B.C.. While Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.372 claims that iron weapons were cheaper than bronze, that is not true. Iron needed much higher smelting temperatures and thus iron weapons were more expensive to make. However, iron weapons with a steel edge were harder than bronze and iron weapons and armor made an infantryman almost invincible when fighting against less well-armed infantrymen.
In addition, the Assyrians were the first known experts in siege works. The earliest known siege ramp was the Assyrian one at Lachish. It was 165-180 feet at the base, rising to the height of the city wall, which was 18 feet. See the Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land p.216 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:14, what else do we know of the city of Lachish in Hezekiah's time?
A: At the time of Assyrian invasion, Lachish had an 18 foot thick brick inner wall, an outer wall 17 feet high with towers, and a bastion 83 feet by 63 feet. See Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land p.216 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:27 and Isa 36:12, is it an absurdity in the Bible absurd to say people eat and drink human waste? (The Muslim Ahmad Deedat categorically said this, using different language).
A: Consider the speaker. This is said by the evil Assyrian general, when he was taunting the Israelites and the one true God. I don’t know why an allegedly honest person would forget to see this was by an idolator taunting God and God’s people, and not God. I do not know what percentage of Muslims would claim that Deedat’s arguments were honest.
Finally, most Muslims are probably not aware of the cause behind one of the times Mohammed had people tortured to death. Mohammed had the limbs cut off and the men tortured of the tribe of ‘Ukil after they killed a Muslim messenger of Mohammed’s. They asked Mohammed for help on how to cure a disease they had, and Mohammed sent the messenger to tell them to drink camel urine. This is according to Bukhari vol.4 book 52 no.261 p.162.
Q: In 2 Ki 19, why is this almost identical with Isa 37?
A: Ignoring verse numbers, the two are identical except that 2 Kings 19:35 says "that night the angel" while Isaiah 27:36 says "then the angel".
These passages relate the prayer of Hezekiah and the Lord sending an angel to destroy the Assyrian army (probably through the agency of a plague of rats). If the writer of 2 Kings simply copied wrote exactly what Isaiah related, what would be wrong with that?
These verses being the same shows one was copied from the other. For whatever reason this passage was put in two places, I am glad it was. This is a good "validation test" to see how little the passages have changes over the years.
Q: In 2 Ki 18:13, was the "fourteenth year" a copyist error for the twenty-fourth year?
A: There are two alternate views.
Copyist error: This was a scribal mistake according to 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.129-130, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.211, and When Critics Ask p.197. 14 likely was changed to 24 when the Hebrew language converted from round letters to square letters. The difference between 14 and 24 is only one stroke in Hebrew. This occurred because "fishhooks" indicated decades, and if a "fishhook" was smudged in the original, then there would appear to be only one "fishhook" symbol, not two. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.222 says that one can also see this type of error in copying from a faded or smudged document in the (Jewish) Elephantine papyri of the 5th century B.C.
Co-regency: However, there is no need to postulate a copyist error, as 701 B.C. was the fourteenth year from the sole reign of Hezekiah. See the discussion on 2 Kings 18:1 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 19:35; 2 Chr 32:21, how did the angel of the Lord destroy the Assyrian army?
A: The Bible simply says they died. However, the Greek historian Herodotus records an Egyptian tradition that at Pelusium an army of field mice ate the Assyrian bowstrings, quivers, and leather straps on their shields. Not only did they eat leather, but they brought plague that killed many in the Assyrian army.
As a side note, this is not the only time mice were credited with eating bowstrings. In later times the people of Troad worshipped mice, because the mice gnawed the strings of their enemies’ bows. This is according to Clement of Alexandria in Exhortation to the Heathen ch.3 p.182
Q: In 2 Ki 19:37, why did it say Sennacherib’s sons escaped to "Armenia" since it was the land of "Urartu" in Sennacherib’s time?
A: While they escaped to the kingdom of Urartu, the Kingdom of Urartu was later destroyed by the Assyrians. At the time of the writing of 2 Kings, this part of Iran and Turkey was called Armenia, and the current name was used.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:1,5, did Isaiah, speaking as a prophet, contradict himself here?
A: No. Isaiah did not speak here about the future as it certainly was going to be, but about the future unless King Hezekiah prayed. Hezekiah, who served God faithfully, prayed his desperate prayer, and God added fifteen years to his life. God wanted it made clear that those extra years were only because God decided to grant Hezekiah's prayer.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:3, what can we learn from Hezekiah's prayer?
A: After this prayer out of bitterness, God granted Hezekiah fifteen more years of life. During those fifteen years, Hezekiah made two key mistakes. First he showed the Babylonian ambassadors all the riches he had stored up, and he failed to raise Manasseh in a godly way.
It is better to pray what is God's will, than to pray knowing God's will and ask for something else instead.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:7 and Isa 38:21, why did Isaiah say to use a poultice of fig leaves?
A: Either that was a means God used for the miracle, or else it was simply a medical treatment. A boil could be fatal. People today die of antibiotic-resistant staph infections, and back then they did not know about antibiotics. Fig leaves was a common medicinal treatment of that time, and the plaster helped in possibly five ways.
1. Fig plaster contains sugar, and this nutrient would help the bodies cells regrow better.
2. If the plaster was high in sugar as in a jam or jelly, then it would actually kill fast-growing bacteria. Jelly today at room temperature is not as susceptible to bacteria spoilage like one might think. Bacteria in a high-sugar environment absorb sugar so rapidly that their cell walls burst and they die.
3. In addition, other compounds in the plaster perhaps would slow bacteria growth and adjust the pH.
4. Finally, if the wound were cleaned first, and plaster then applied, the plaster would protect the wound from dirt and airborne bacteria.
5. Penicillium mold, from which we get penicillin, does not only grow on bread, but it can grow on any fruit, especially if it is soft and mushy and sugary.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.274 says that the medicinal use of fig leaves goes at least as far back as the Ras Shamra tablets.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:8, how could God make the sundial go back ten degrees?
A: God Almighty can do whatever miracles He wishes. He could have
a) Actually made the earth's rotation rate change.
b) Made the sun in the sky over Palestine appear to move, casting its shadow differently,
c) Performed the miracle solely on the sundial.
See the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.211-212, When Critics Ask p.197-198, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.91-93 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:12, who as King Merodach-Baladan of Babylon?
A: Historians call him Marduk-aplaiddina II or Marduk Apal Iddina II, which means "Marduck has given a son". A photograph of a carving of him is in the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.642.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:13 and Isa 39:2, how could Hezekiah show the Babylonians his gold and silver, since he gave the gold and silver to the Assyrians in 2 Ki 18:15?
A: There are two alternative answers, but the second answer is most likely the correct one.
Not likely the answer: envoys came later: 2 Kings 18:15 says that prior to the siege of Jerusalem Hezekiah gave the Assyrians 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. To get this he gave all the silver in the temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace. (No mention is made of how much gold he had.) When the Babylonian envoys came in 2 Kings 20:13 and Isaiah 39:2 Hezekiah showed them all the gold and silver he had left everywhere. While this could be the answer, it seems unusual that the Babylonian envoys would visit to wish Hezekiah well solely because of his recovery, with total silence of how the Assyrians were stopped.
Most likely answer: envoys came earlier: Both 2 Kings and Isaiah say that the envoys came "at this time" of when the Assyrians attacked Judah without specifying if it was earlier or later. Hezekiah could have showed them with pride all of the gold and silver he had. After that time, the Assyrians came and took away 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. A key point is that when God promised healing to Hezekiah, prior to the envoys coming, God said that he would (implied in the future) deliver Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem from the Assyrians. In 2 Kings 20:6-7 and Isaiah 38:6.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.157-158 for more info on why it is important to compare the dates of events in passages before saying they are contradictory.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:12-15, should this name, Merodach, start with a "B" or an "M"?
A: Both Isaiah 39:1 and Babylonian records show that "M" is correct. This person was Merodach-Baladan, and the "B" in 2 Kings 20:12-15 is apparently a copyist error. When Critics Ask p.198. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.276, and the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible all point this out.
Q: In 2 Ki 20:12-15, when did Merodach-Baladan send this delegation to Judah?
A: Five pieces of data to consider before coming to a conclusion.
1. According to The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.271-272, Merodach-Baladan ruled in Babylon from 721-710 B.C., when he was driven back to Bit Yakin.
2. Merodach-Baladan later retook Babylon from Marduk Zakir Shumi in 703 B.C. The Assyrians deposed Merodach-Baladan from Babylon around 702/701 B.C., prior to the invasion of Judah. Merodach-Baladan then fled to Elam, never to return to Babylon.
3. Hezekiah died between 698 and 696 B.C., and 15 years earlier would be 713/711 B.C. Sennacherib invaded Judah around 701 B.C.
4. Hezekiah took everything out of the treasury to give to Sennacherib in 2 Kings 18:14-16.
5. 2 Kings does not say whether the envoys from Merodach Baladan were before or after the Assyrian invasion. The phrase "in those days" in 2 Kings 20:1 means at that time, not necessarily after, as The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.272 says.
Conclusion: The Babylonian envoys came just after Hezekiah's illness and prior to the Assyrian invasion, when Hezekiah still had a lot of treasure to show them.
See When Critics Ask p.198, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.130, and the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.212-213 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 21:1-2, after God destroyed the Assyrian army, why would King Manasseh choose to follow other gods?
A: While we do not know for sure, there are a number of possible factors.
In the past: The Assyrian army was destroyed three years before Manasseh was even born. Some people choose not to remember great things God did unless they were there.
Age: Manasseh was only 12 years old, and might have had evil advisors. If so, one would question why Hezekiah would allow evil advisors, but the advisors probably acquiescing to the nations around them more than trusting God. They might have just kept quiet until Hezekiah passed away. Today when someone wants to choose a successor or leave a legacy of a ministry, it is important to know the character of the people they choose to succeed them.
Established Baal Worship: Both the Old Testament and archaeology support the idea that Baal worship was not just a passing fad or a "fringe religion", but there was a centuries-old hotly contested struggle between the worship of the True God and the worship of Baal.
Q: In 2 Ki 22:14 and 2 Chr 34:22 (KJV), where was the "college"?
A: The NASB and NKJV both translate the word as "second quarter". The NET says "Mishnah District", with a footnote says, "or second". The NIV and The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.283 say "Second district". Green's Literal translation shows the Hebrew here is simply "the Second".
Q: In 2 Ki 22:16, how does God bring evil upon a place?
A: This is true in two ways.
Physical calamity: God can bring invaders to kill or conquer all the people, both godly and ungodly, who live there.
Morally evil people: However, evil here is not just bringing physical calamity to a place, but also bringing morally evil people to conquer and rule it.
Q: In 2 Ki 22:20 and 2 Chr 34:28, how was Josiah buried in peace, since he died in battle fighting Pharaoh Neco of Egypt?
A: The phrase "die in peace" is used in various places in the Bible (Genesis 15:15, etc.), but that is not the phrase used here. It says that Josiah would be buried in peace.
Pharaoh Neco had no desire to fight Judah, and Josiah was foolish to fight him. The Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians, and there was no war or fighting for Judah as soon as Josiah was killed.
Q: In 2 Ki 23:5, what planets did they know about?
The early Christian writer Tertullian
A: The ancient people knew of the five planets visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Jupiter and Saturn were very close to each other about 4 B.C., and this likely is something the Magi would have noticed. Ancient astronomers considered the planets as "wanderers" because they did not stay in their fixed position as the stars did.
Mercury: The earliest reference to Mercury is in the Babylonian tablet called MUL.APIN,. This work was believed to be written 1370 B.C., but the copy we have preserved is dated 686 B.C. The Babylonians did not call the planet mercury (a later Latin term) but "the jumping planet."
Venus: The Planets p.108 has a photograph of a old Babylonian tablet recording the movements of Venus. The table is called the Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa (or Enuma Anu Enlil Table 63) and was probably originally written about 1750 B.C. based on the tie it records. The copy we have preserved is dated 700 B.C.
Other places where planets are named:
Pythagoras the philosopher was the first we know of to think the five planets moved in concentric circles around the earth. Unfortunately his model did not match observations. A Pythagorean named Eudoxus of Cnidus (408-355 B.C.) came up with a working model involving 27 different spheres around the earth, to explain the motions of the five planets. The model matched observations, but it apparently never occurred to them that a much simpler model was having the planets orbit the sun.
Philo the Jew (15/20 B.C. to 50 A.D.) mentions seven planets in Allegorical Interpretation, I 4:8 p.25. Presumably he counts the moon as a planet. Likewise Clement of Alexandria mentions seven planets, including Saturn and the moon in The Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 5 ch.6 p.453
Hippolytus (225-235/5 A.D.) in discussing Greek astronomical calculations, writes: "Aristarchus the Samian computes at 8, 000, 178 stadii, but Apollonius 5, 000, 000, whereas Archimedes computes it at 5, 544, 1300. And from the lunar to solar circle, (according to the last authority,) are 50, 262, 065 stadii; and from this to the circle of Venus, 20, 272, 065 stadii; and from this to the circle of Mercury, 50, 817, 165 stadii; and from this to the circle of Mars, 40, 541, 108 stadii; and from this to the circle of Jupiter, 20, 275, 065 stadii; and from this to the circle of Saturn, 40, 372, 065 stadii; and from this to the Zodiac and the furthest periphery, 20, 082, 005 stadii." Refutation of All Heresies book 4 ch.9 p.29
The write Bardesan, in criticizing astrology, discusses Mercury and Venus in Book of the Laws of Diverse Countries p.730,732. He also does what we would consider astronomy, comparing the revolutions of planets. "Bardesan, therefore, an aged man, and one celebrated for his knowledge of events, wrote, in a certain work which was composed by him, concerning the synchronisms with one another of the luminaries of heaven, speaking as follows : Two revolutions of Saturn, 60 years; 5 revolutions of Jupiter, 60 years; 40 revolutions of Mars, 60 years; 60 revolutions of the Sun, 60 years; 72 revolutions of Venus, 60 years; 150 revolutions of Mercury, 60 years; 720 revolutions of the Moon, 60 years." Book of the Laws of Diverse Countries appendix p.734.
The early Christian writer Tertullian(198-220 A.D.) wrote not only of Saturn and Mars, but criticized astrologers who guided their future by the stars in his work: On Idolatry ch.9 p.65
Q: In 2 Ki 23:9, who was Pharaoh Neco/Necho?
A: Egyptologists know Pharaoh Neco as Psamtik II, who reigned from 594-588 B.C. The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.698 has a photograph of a statuette of him.
Q: In 2 Ki 23:26, after Manasseh converted near the end of his life, why did God not spare the nation of Judah?
A: While Manasseh repented, the people did not necessarily repent. Manasseh's encouragement of Baal worship still had lasting effects, even though he repented.
Today, if a person repents of leading others astray, the effects of the sin can still persist. After a person repents, a person might still need to work to undo the results of their past sin. This is why I hear some former Mormon missionaries, after they become Christians, trying to contact the people they converted to Mormonism in order to persuade them to follow the real Jesus and leave Mormonism.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.236-237 for a different answer.
Q: In 2 Ki 23:29, why did Josiah choose to fight Pharaoh Neco?
A: Josiah might have decided to fight for three reasons. None of these reasons came from God; the first two from fear and the last one from greed.
1. Josiah was politically loyal to Babylon, and he was afraid he would be considered disloyal if he allowed the Egyptian army to travel unopposed through Judah.
2. Regardless of Josiah's loyalty to Babylon, Josiah did not want a foreign army marching through Judah. Not only would he be concerned about what the Egyptian army would do as it came through, it would show weakness to other kingdoms, and give them the idea they could march through Judah too.
3. Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.391 speculates that Josiah wanted Egypt out of Asia, so that when the Assyrians were destroyed, Josiah could control Syria himself.
Note that these three reasons are all natural thinking. Absent from these reasons is any idea of asking God what He would want Josiah to do. How long can you be a Christian, pray, and study the Bible, until the time comes when it is safe to stop listening to God? The answer is: never.
Q: In 2 Ki 23:29, why do believers some times get involved in battles they are not supposed to be fighting?
A: It could be for a variety of reasons.
Misplaced loyalty: Whether to the Babylonians or others, sometimes Christians are loyal to authorities to which they should not be loyal. In World War II, many German soldiers were Lutheran or Catholic.
Not listening to God: Josiah was not guided by God to fight Pharaoh Neco, and Josiah did not seem to notice. He could have prayed, consulted others, or the urim and thummin, but he did not.
Misunderstanding: Sometimes we can think we clearly see a situation, but we are wrong. For example, Joshua and the 9 1/2 tribes thought the other 2 1/2 tribes had built an idolatrous altar in Joshua 22:12. Fortunately they went to their brothers, and asked for an explanation, right before their army was about to attack the 2 1/2 tribes.
Sinful Emotions: When we fail to put God first as Lord of the way we feel, and follow our feeling of jealousy, pride, etc. as the Ephraimites did in Judges 12:1-6, we can get hurt very bad as the Ephraimites did. God did not desire this, and we suffer many things God did not desire us to suffer when we "follow our heart" and give in to hatred, pride, and envy.
Q: In 2 Ki 23:29-30, was King Josiah's body taken from Megiddo, which implies he died there, or did he die in Jerusalem as 2 Chr 35:24 says?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
Death was often slow: In this age of bullets and bombs, it might be surprising to hear that when someone was killed by being fatally shot with an arrow, it might take up to a day for the person to actually be dead. They could do things to slow down the bleeding, but they could not effectively cauterize the wound if it was deep, and they could not stop the infection.
Josiah "rode dead": 2 Kings 23:29-30 says that Josiah was killed in Megiddo, and according to Green's Literal translation, Josiah "rode dead" from Megiddo to Jerusalem. The phrase "rode dead" could mean he was already dead, or that he was riding as a dead man, i.e. fatally wounded.
No sequence specified: 2 Chronicles 35:24 says they brought him to Jerusalem and that he died, but it does not imply the sequence of events. Josiah could have died in Megiddo, in Jerusalem, or on the way.
In summary, scripture does not specify the exact point of death, regardless of where Josiah's final breath occurred, he was killed by Egyptian archers on the battlefield at Megiddo.
See When Critics Ask p.199 for the view that King Josiah died at Megiddo prior to being taken to Jerusalem.
Q: In 2 Ki 23:31; 24:18, how do you pronounce the name of Jehoahaz's mother, "Hamutal"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.749 pronounces it as "ha-MU-tal", with a long u, and a dot over each "a". Cruden's Concordance pronounces it as "ha-MU-tal" with the first "a" and "u" both long, and the last "a" short.
Q: In 2 Ki 24:6, did Jehoiakim sleep with his fathers, or did Nebuchadnezzar take him in bronze shackles to Babylon in 2 Chr 36:6?
A: Both are correct. The phrase "sleep with his fathers" simply means that Jehoiakim died. 2 Kings 24:6 does not say how he died, or where he died.
Q: In 2 Ki 24:8, was Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) eighteen years old when he became king, or eight years old as 2 Chr 36:9 says?
A: 2 Kings 24:8 is correct; there is a copyist error in 2 Chronicles 36:9. One Hebrew manuscript, some Septuagint and the Syriac say eighteen, when most Hebrew manuscripts say eight years old. See the footnote in the NIV, NKJV, Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.888-889, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.467,470, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.648-649, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.214-215, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 4 p.8, and When Critics Ask p.199-200 for more info. This is in the footnotes in the NIV and NKJV, but the KJV, NASB, and NRSV missed this.
Contextually, we can be sure the 18 number is correct rather than 8. 1 Chronicles 3:17 says that Jehoiachin had seven sons, and he only reigned 3 months (2 Kings 24:8) before he was imprisoned in Babylon. Imprisoning an 8-year old boy with seven sons is not too likely.
(This answer is repeated in 2 Chr 36:9).
Q: In 2 Ki 24:8 did Jehoiachin reign over Jerusalem three months, or three months and ten days as 2 Chr 36:9 says? (A Muslim asked this.)
A: Both, because three months and ten days, rounded to the nearest month is three months. This brings up a broader point in understanding the Bible. Two things can both be accurate, but have different degrees of precision. For example for 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles did not tell use how many hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds he reigned. But the point is still communicated, that Jehoiachin reigned only about three months, when the reigns of most kings are measured in years or decades.
On the other hand, for example, if one source had says something like six days, and another source says eight days, then that is obviously not rounding. The Qur’an says the earth was made in six days in Sura 7:54; 10:3; 11:7; 25:29. Yet it took eight days according to Sura 41:9-12.
Q: In 2 Ki 24:12, why did Jehoiachin come out to the king of Babylon?
A: Why does a lightly armed outlaw, with no hostages, surrender when he is surrounded by a heavily armed police force? He does not want to surrender, but he figures it is better for him to come out alive than for his pursuers to go in after him. When Jehoiachin had to trust in the mercy of the Babylonians after he rebelled, he was in a rather pathetic situation.
Q: In 2 Ki 24:18, was this the prophet Jeremiah?
A: No, this was a different Jeremiah from Libnah, and the prophet Jeremiah was from Anathoth.
Q: In 2 Ki 24:20, why did Zedekiah rebel from Babylon?
A: Four factors most likely influenced Zedekiah's disastrous decision to rebel.
Not trusting in God was Zedekiah's root problem, as Jeremiah 37:2 shows.
A helpless puppet is how Zedekiah perceived himself, with the nobles having the real power, as Jeremiah 38:5 says.
Trusting in a false hope, when Zedekiah and the nobles were relying on Egypt for help, was a key mistake, as Jeremiah 38:5 shows.
Fearing of what happened to Jehoiachin might also happen to him, Zedekiah "learned his lesson". Unfortunately Zedekiah learned the wrong lesson and still rebelled. However, once Zedekiah started to rebel, he did not consider surrender a viable option.
Q: In 2 Ki 25:7 and Ezek 12:13, how did King Zedekiah not see Babylon, since Jer 34:3 says he went to Babylon?
A: This answer is a repeat of the discussion on Jeremiah 34:3.
While these two statements might sound almost impossible to reconcile, Jeremiah 52:11 answers this quite simply. The Babylonians put out Zedekiah’s eyes before taking him to Babylon. See When Critics Ask p.278-279 for more info.
Q: In 2 Ki 25:17 (KJV), what is a chapiter?
A: Also called capitals, these are fancy decorations that formed the top part of a pillar in classical architecture.
Q: In 2 Ki 25:18, what else is significant about Seraiah the chief priest?
A: According to Ezra 7:1, he was apparently a father or ancestor of the prophet Ezra.
Q: In 2 Ki 25:22, do we have any archaeological evidence of the governor Gedaliah?
A: Yes, we have an inscription that likely relates to him. There is a clay seal impression from Lachish that says "belonging to Gedaliah who is over the house." See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 4 p.299 for more info.
In addition, a picture of Lachish is on a wall relief on Sennacherib's royal palace in Nineveh, according to The Communicators Commentary 1, 2, Kings p.432.
Q: In 2 Ki 25:27, why would the Babylonian king be kind to Jehoiachin and cruel to Zedekiah in 2 Ki 25:7?
A: Jehoiachin surrendered to the Babylonian army and never actually rebelled. Zedekiah rebelled.
Q: In 2 Ki 25:29, is there any extra-Biblical evidence that Jehoiachin was "rehabilitated" and ate regularly at the king’s table?
A: Yes, if you understand "at the king’s table" to mean ate the king’s rations. According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 4 p.300, ration tablets from the reign of Nabonidus include "Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud [Judah]."
Q: What are the verses from 2 Kings contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
A: Overall, preserved in the Dead Sea scrolls are following verses from 2 Kings: 5:26; 6:32; 7:8-10,20; 8:1-5; 9:1-2; 10:19-21. See Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls vol.2 p.615 and The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for more info.
Q: Which early writers referred to 2 Kings?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in 2 Kings are:
Meleto/Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) refers to the "Four books of Kingdoms" [1, 2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings] among the books of the Old Testament in his letter to Onesimus. On Pascha p.72. Preserved in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History book 4 ch.26.
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) alludes to 2 Kings 6:6 in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.17.3 p.545
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) paraphrased 2 Kings 23:22. The Stromata book 1 ch.21 p.328
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes 2 Kings 6:17-19 from the Septuagint. The Instructor book 2 ch.1 p.242
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) quotes 1/3 of 2 Kings 4:26 "For Elisha enjoined upon his servant the same salutation when he met the Shunammite; he was to say to her: ‘Peace to thine husband, peace to thy child.’" Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.24 p.387
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) quotes 3/4 of 2 Kings 4:29. Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.24 p.387
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) alludes to 2 Kings 24:10 and 25:27 in his commentary on Daniel p.177
Origen (225-254 A.D.) refers to 2 Kings 4:17, calling it "the fourth book of Kings" (1 and 2 Samuel were sometimes called 1 and 2 Kings.) Origen Against Celsus book 8 ch.46 p.656
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes from 2 Kings 17:20,21 as "Holy Scripture declares in the books of Kings" Letters of Cyprian Letter 75 ch.6 p.399
Methodius of Olympus and Patara (c.260-312 A.D.) alludes to Hezekiah making a clump of figs in 2 Kings 20:7 and Isaiah 38:21. The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Discourse 10 ch.3 p.350
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) mentions the Jews being carried off into captivity, alluding to 2 Kings 15 and Jeremiah 39 and 52. The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.5 p.105. He does not have any other references to 2 Kings.
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) (allusion)
Athanasius (367 A.D.) mentions "The four books of kings" in listing the books of the Old Testament. Paschal Letter 39 ch.4 p.552.
Ephraim the Syrian (350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) (allusion)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) (Implied)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Gregory of Nanzianzus (330-391 A.D.) (allusion)
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) (allusion)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) (Implied) The Panarion
John Chrysostom (-407 A.D.) quotes 2 Kings 2:10 in Homilies on Acts of the Apostles Homily 1 p.7
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.)
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo (338-430 A.D.) (allusion)
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.)
Socrates the church historian (400-439 A.D.) quotes half a verse from 2 Kings
After Nicea there are other writers too.
Q: In 2 Ki, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: Here are a few of the translation differences. To get a sampling of Masoretic vs. Greek Septuagint variations, this part focuses on chapter 10.
2 Ki 1:17 "Jehoram" vs. "His brother Jehoram" (Septuagint, Syriac)
2 Ki 5:12 "Abanah [River]" (Kethib, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "Amanah [River]" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Syriac, Targums)
2 Ki 7:13 "left in the city. Behold they are as all the multitude of Israel who have been left in it. Behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel who have perished. And we will send and see." (yes, this is duplicated) vs. "left here; behold they are the number left to all the multitude of Israel; and we will send thither and see."
2 Ki 8:16 "Ahab of Israel, Jehoshaphat being king of Judah" vs. "Ahab of Israel" (Septuagint, Syriac)
2 Ki 9:27 "in the chariot" vs. "And they shot him in the chariot" (Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Ki 10:1 "letters" vs. "a letter" (letter is singular in both the Masoretic text and the Septuagint in verse 2) Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews 188.8.131.52 (c.93-94 A.D.) says that Jehu wrote two letters, one to the guardians, and one to the officials of Samaria. (Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.213)
2 Ki 10:1 "Jezreel" (Masoretic, Syriac, Targums) vs. "Samaria" (Septuagint) vs. "city" (Vulgate, some Septuagint)
2 Ki 10:1 "supporters/guardians of Ahab" (Masoretic, some Septuagint) vs. "guardians of the sons of Ahab" (some Septuagint)
2 Ki 10:12 "rose up and came in, and went to Samaria" vs. "arose and went to Samaria"
2 Ki 10:13 "to ask the welfare of" vs. "to salute"
2 Ki 10:15 "Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?" vs. "Is your heart right with my heart, as my heart is with your heart?"
2 Ki 10:15 "If it is" vs. "Jehu said, If it is"
2 Ki 10:15 "give your hand" vs. "give me your hand"
2 Ki 10:16 "they made him" (Masoretic) vs. "he took him up" (Septuagint, Syriac, Targums)
2 Ki 10:17 "destroyed" vs. "utterly destroyed"
2 Ki 10:19 "call to me …" vs. "do all … call all … to me"
2 Ki 10:19 "shall not live" vs. "shall die"
2 Ki 10:20 "they proclaimed" vs. "they made a proclamation"
2 Ki 10:21 "and all the servants of Baal came in. And there was not a man left who did not come in." vs. "Now let all Baal's servants, and all his priests, and all his prophets come, let none be lacking, for I am offering to offer a great sacrifice; whosoever shall be missing, shall not live."
2 Ki 10:23 "servants of Baal" vs. "servants of Baal by themselves."
2 Ki 10:25 "the third officers" vs. "the officers" (two times)
2 Ki 10:25 "strike them" vs. "slay them" (regardless, the context clearly indicates killing them)
2 Ki 10:26 "pillars … burned them" (Masoretic) vs. "pillar … burned it" (Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, Targums)
2 Ki 10:27 "pillars" vs. "pillar"
2 Ki 10:28 "destroyed" vs. "abolished"
2 Ki 10:29 "Only … caused" vs. "Nevertheless … led"
2 Ki 10:29 "calves" vs. "heifers"
2 Ki 10:30 "because you have done well" vs. "Because of all your deeds wherein you have acted well"
2 Ki 10:30 "sit for you" vs. "sit"
2 Ki 10:32 "border of Israel" vs. "every coast of Israel"
2 Ki 10:33 "Gadites" vs. "Gaddites of Gaddi"
2 Ki 10:33 "Aroar by the Arnon river, even" vs. "Aroar, which is on the brink of the brook of Arnon, and"
2 Ki 10:34 "his might" vs. "his might, and the wars he engaged in"
2 Ki 11:1 "seed of the kingdom" vs. "seed royal"
2 Ki 11:2 "they hid" (Masoretic) vs. "she hid" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Ki 11:4 "runners" vs. "Rhasim"
2 Ki 13:6 "but he walked" (Masoretic) vs. "but walked" (Septuagint, Syriac, Targums, Vulgate)
2 Ki 15:10 "in front of the people" (Masoretic) vs. "in Keblaam" (Septuagint) vs. "in Ible’am" (Lucianic recension of the Septuagint)
2 Ki 16:6 "Edomites" (most texts) vs. "Syrians" (a few ancient manuscripts according to the NKJV)
2 Ki 19:31 "LORD of hosts" (many Hebrew manuscripts and ancient versions according to the NKJV) "LORD" (Masoretic)
2 Ki 20:13 "When Hezekiah heard about them (Masoretic) vs. "Hezekiah welcomed them" (Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac)
2 Ki 20:13 "all his armory" (so with many Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targums) vs. "his armory" (Masoretic)
2 Ki 23:16 "man of God proclaimed, who had proclaimed these things." vs. "man of God spoke," (Septuagint)
2 Ki 23:33 "Neco put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath" (Masoretic) vs. (Neco at Riblah in Hamath removed him" (Septuagint, 2 Chronicles 36:3)
2 Ki 25:4 "all the soldiers by night" vs. "the king, with all the soldiers fled by night"
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Green’s Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton’s translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositor's Bible Commentary and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.