2 Kings, chapters 23-25

“Do not be afraid of being servants to the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.”
~2 Kings, 25:24

These words were spoken by Gedaliah, the newly appointed governor of Judah, soon after Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon (2 Ki. 25:22).

Gedaliah was accepting Jehovah’s will for the people of Judah.

The nation as a whole had sinned time and again for hundreds of years, showing no respect toward the covenant into which their forefathers had entered into with God (Ex. 24:3-8; 34:6,7,12-16).

Jehovah had sent his people prophet after prophet to warn them of the direction in which they were headed (2 Chron. 36:15,16).

Among these prophets was Jeremiah, who told the remnants of Judah to accept God’s punishment and submit to the king of Babylon (Jer. 27:12).

Some of the people did not like the message, including a man by the name of Ishmael.

Ishmael conspired against Gedaliah and murdered him (2 Ki. 25:25).

As true Christians who preach Christ’s kingdom, we too carry an unpopular message.

Some Christians in the past have given their life for the message they proclaimed, and even today, some Jehovah’s Witnesses risk their lives to take the good news into new cultures.

For example, some of the brothers and sisters whom we had the privilege of serving with in Michoacán, Mexico, were tasked with preaching the good news in Purepecha Villages where the Catholic church would summon all the townspeople, much like a mob forms, and the Witnesses would be incarcerated.

Others, as can be noted in some of our Yearbooks, have lost their lives.

The risks God’s servants are willing to take to proclaim God’s message are worth noting.

2 Kings, chapters 19-22

“Go, inquire of Jehovah in my behalf, in behalf of the people, and in behalf of all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found […]”
~2 Kings 22:13

Josiah was a 26 year old king who had an earnest interest in doing things God’s way (2 Ki. 22:2).

When his scribe, Shaphan, brought him the book of the Law (evidently the original book written by the hand of Moses), he formed a committee to find out what God’s words meant in terms of Judah’s future (De. 31:9).

The committee, despite being made up of prominent men, did not visit any well-known male prophets of the time, despite their vicinity (Jeremiah, Nahum and Zephaniah).

Instead, the committee inquired of the prophetess Huldah. (2 Ki. 22:14).

Huldah’s insight into the reading of the prophecies was never questioned but rather, taken as God’s word (2 Ki. 22:20-23:3).

King Josiah’s humility was hence blessed as he was spared seeing Jerusalem’s destruction or having it collapse under his reign (2 Ki. 22:18-20).

How do I react when given sound advice by a spiritually mature woman?

Do I think she is overstepping her role in the congregation by personally giving me suggestions that typically only congregation elders or overseers give?

When a person delivers God’s message to me, it should not matter that they are male or female, so long as it is God’s word that they are relating.

Other women who prophesied on behalf of Jehovah:

2 Kings, chapters 16-18

When he saw the altar that was in Damascus, King Ahaz sent Urijah the priest a plan of the altar, showing its pattern and how it was made. Urijah the priest built an altar according to all the directions that King Ahaz had sent […].
~2 Kings 16:10,11

Urijah knew that the original plans for the first altar had been given from Jehovah to David.
David’s son, Solomon, had carried out the blueprints precisely as indicated (2 Chron. 3:1; 4:1).
Urijah, however, allowed King Ahaz to overstep his authority and alter Jehovah’s instructions.

King Ahaz was an apostate.
“He did not do what was right in the eyes of Jehovah his God as David his forefather had done. […] He even made his own son pass through the fire,” (2 Ki. 16:2,3).

When King Ahaz returned from his trip, “he moved the copper altar that was before Jehovah from its place in front of the house, from between his own altar and the house of Jehovah, and he put it at the north side of his own altar. […] Urijah the priest did everything that King Ahaz had commanded” (2 Ki. 16:14,16).

When the congregation hands us instructions regarding our worship, do we see their divine origin, or do we consider them to be mere suggestions?
Do we alter Jehovah’s instructions because they do not appeal to us or because we think we can come up with a better form of worship?
And to what extent do we allow others to dissuade us from doing what we know Jehovah asks of us?

Urijah does not stand out in the Bible account as being a faithful priest.
He contributed to the demise of pure worship in his day.

2 Kings, chapters 12-15

“As some men were burying a man, they saw the marauder band, so they quickly threw the man into Elisha’s burial place and ran off. When the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.”
~2 Kings 13:21

Although the Bible mentions other resurrection accounts,* this is only one of two resurrections realized directly by Jehovah God (the other being that of Jesus) (1 Cor. 15:3-6).

Elisha had already been buried when this second cadaver was thrown into his grave, and since there is no consciousness in the grave, the resurrection should be credited to Jehovah, not Elisha, who to this day has no idea that his bones resurrected a man, because he is dead (Eccl. 9:5).

That Jehovah should be so merciful as to restore a random dead man’s life to him demonstrates God’s power and will to resurrect the millions of people who have been swallowed up by death (Ps. 141:7; Acts 24:15).

This will shall be carried out under Christ’s rule when his kingdom blessings have reached the earth (Matt. 6:10).

*The other resurrection accounts can be found at: 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37; Luke 7:11-17; 8:40-42; 8:49-56; John 11:38-44; Acts 9:36-42; 20:7-12.

2 Kings, chapters 9-11

“Jehosheba […] took Jehoash […] and stole him away from among the sons of the king who were to be put to death, keeping him and his nurse in an inner bedroom. They managed to keep him concealed from Athaliah, so he was not put to death.”
~2 Kings 11:2

Who was Athaliah, and why was she trying to put baby Jehoash to death?
I have facilitated my own understanding of this passage by drawing out this simple family tree of royal lines in Judah and Northern Israel at that time.

family tree royal lines ancient IsraelAthaliah was the daughter of evil Queen Jezabel and apostate King Ahab of Northern Israel.

She married into Judah’s royal line but did not change her family’s ways (1 Ki. 21:25; 2 Ki. 8:16,18).

When her son, King Ahaziah died, she put all her grandchildren to death, taking over the kingdom of Judah (2 Ki. 11:1).

However, she was unable to put one child to death: Jehoash, who was stolen by his aunt Jehosheba.

Jehosheba was a true worshipper of Jehovah God and she did not fear standing up to the evil Queen Athaliah, even at the risk of her own life.

She and her husband, High Priest Jehoiada, hid the baby prince Jehoash for six years (2 Ki. 11:3).

Then the high priest proclaimed him king (2 Ki. 11:12).

Consequently, evil Queen Athaliah was executed (2 Ki. 11:16).

What I find most encouraging about this passage is the valor and selflessness with which Jehosheba protected her nephew, undeterred by half her family’s bloody history or bad example.

She is a model for those women living in difficult family circumstances in which their faith in Jehovah is tested on a daily basis.

2 Kings, chapters 5-8

“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the axhead fell into the water, and he cried out: ‘Alas, my master, it was borrowed!’ The man of the true God said: ‘Where did it fall?’ So he showed him the place. He then cut off a piece of wood and threw it there and made the axhead float. He said: ‘Lift it out.’ So he reached out his hand and took it.”
~2 Kings 6:5-7

Jehovah allowed Elisha to carry out this miracle of retrieving the axhead from the river bottom.
What was so important about an axhead?
Elisha must have been concerned with the prophets’ reputation and did not want anyone to criticize their sacred work.
This teaches us that we should return what we borrow or pay back what we owe to avoid becoming a stumbling block for others’ faith (Matt. 18:7).

2 Kings, chapters 1-4

“At this the boy’s mother said: ‘As surely as Jehovah is living and as you yourself are living, I will not leave you.’ So he got up and went with her.”
~2 Kings 4:30

The Shunammite woman is worthy of noting because of the fine example of faith, respect and hospitality that she displayed.
She displayed hospitality toward the prophet Elisha by offering him meals and a room to stay in, without expecting anything in return (2 Ki. 4:8-10, 13, 14).
She displayed respect toward her husband’s position as head of the household by consulting him before carrying out important decisions, despite being a “prominent woman,” (2 Ki. 4:8-10, 22, 23).
And she displayed faith in God because when her only son died, she ran and then clung to the prophet until he resolved to go see him (2 Ki. 4:19-21, 27-31).
Years earlier, when the prophet had promised her a son, she had replied, “Do not tell lies to your servant,” (2 Ki. 4:16).
Now, under these tragic circumstances, she firmly told her husband, “Everything is all right,” because she knew Elisha’s predecessor had resurrected a boy under similar circumstances (1 Ki. 17:20-22; 2 Ki. 4:23).
The Shunammite woman’s faith and behavior were compensated when her son’s life was restored to him (2 Ki. 4:35-37).
It is as Jesus stated, “Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will get a prophet’s reward,” (Matt. 10:41).
Therefor we should hold fast to our faith in the resurrection and demonstrate our faith with actions.