Lesson 99: 2 Kings 14–17
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“Lesson 99: 2 Kings 14–17,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 99,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 99

2 Kings 14–17


These chapters identify several kings from the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. In an effort to gain the favor of the king of Assyria, Ahaz, king of Judah, gave him gold and silver from the temple and the royal treasury. Ahaz also defiled the temple by replacing the altar with one fashioned after a pagan altar in Damascus and by making other unauthorized changes to the temple. The rulers of the Northern Kingdom of Israel perpetuated wickedness, and the kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Kings 14–15

Many kings rule in Judah and Israel

Before class write the following references on the board:

2 Kings 14:1, 3

2 Kings 14:23–24

2 Kings 15:1, 3

2 Kings 15:8–9

2 Kings 15:17–18

2 Kings 15:23–24

2 Kings 15:27–28

2 Kings 15:32, 34

Begin by asking students to consider how they would respond in the following situations: (1) Your best friend has started using illegal drugs; (2) As a parent, you discover that your children have been viewing inappropriate shows and images on the television and computer.

  • Why would it be dangerous to do nothing in these situations?

Invite students as they study 2 Kings 14–15 to look for what can happen if we do not remove evil influences from our lives and help others to do the same.

Explain that the verses referenced on the board describe various rulers of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Invite students to scan the verses, looking for which kings were righteous. Ask a few students to write the names of the righteous kings next to their references on the board. (Students should identify Amaziah [2 Kings 14:1, 3], Azariah, also known as Uzziah [2 Kings 15:1, 3; see also Bible Dictionary, “Azariah”], and Jotham [2 Kings 15:32, 34].) Ask students if they noticed which kingdom these righteous kings ruled. (The Southern Kingdom of Judah.)

  • What do you think the phrase “did that which is right in the sight of the Lord” might mean?

Invite a few students to read aloud 2 Kings 14:4; 15:4; 15:35. Ask students to follow along, looking for what each king failed to do.

Explain that “high places” refers to locations where idol worship took place. They may also have been places where other wicked acts were committed (like human sacrifice and sexual immorality). The failure to remove these high places allowed wicked practices to continue within the kingdom of Judah.

  • What might result if we fail to remove evil influences from our lives? (Students may use different words, but be sure to emphasize that if we do not remove evil influences from our lives, we place ourselves and our families in spiritual danger.)

Invite students to identify some evil influences today and how they could be removed from an individual’s life. Invite students to ponder whether there are any evil influences they need to remove from their lives. Challenge them to pray for the strength and courage to remove them.

2 Kings 16–17

King Ahaz defiles the temple, and the kingdom of Israel is conquered

Ask students if they have ever seen someone try to please another person in order to obtain something in return.

  • What might the danger be in doing this?

Encourage students as they study 2 Kings 16 to look for how Ahaz, king of Judah, sought to please the king of Assyria to obtain his help.

Invite students to scan 2 Kings 16:1–4 silently. Point out that Ahaz did evil in the sight of the Lord by sacrificing his son to the heathen gods (see also 2 Chronicles 28:3) and by offering sacrifice in the high places. Invite a student to read 2 Kings 16:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the difficulty that came to Ahaz and the people of Judah.

  • What difficulty arose for Ahaz and the people of Judah? (The armies of Israel and Syria besieged Jerusalem. You may need to explain that in this context besiege means to surround a city and try to take control of it. Explain that the nations of Israel and Syria intended to force Judah into an alliance against the nation of Assyria.)

  • What do you think you would have done if you had been in Ahaz’s position?

Ask a student to read 2 Kings 16:7–8 aloud. Invite the class to follow along and look for how Ahaz responded in this situation.

  • What did Ahaz do to gain favor with the king of Assyria?

Explain that Ahaz also went to the city of Damascus (the capital of Syria, north of Judah and Israel) to meet with the king of Assyria and further seek his favor and help.

Invite half the class to read 2 Kings 16:10–16 silently and the other half to read 2 Chronicles 28:22–25 silently, looking for actions that indicate Ahaz’s lack of faith in the Lord. Ask students to report what they find. (Ahaz offered sacrifices to the idols in Damascus and ordered that the altar in the temple at Jerusalem be replaced with an altar designed like one he had seen in Damascus. He also made unauthorized changes to the holy priesthood ordinances, destroyed or altered sacred temple lavers and the “sea” (font), had the temple closed, and set up places of idolatry in Jerusalem.)

  • Why do you think Ahaz wanted to “fashion” (or make) an altar like the one he found in Damascus?

  • Whom do you think Ahaz was trying to please?

  • How might Ahaz’s actions have been displeasing to the Lord?

Ask students to read 2 Kings 16:17–18 silently, looking for how Ahaz treated the items in the temple and why he treated them that way. Invite them to explain what they learn. Make sure students understand that Ahaz “turned” or changed the furnishings in the Lord’s house to please the Assyrian king and win his favor. These actions show that Ahaz sought to please the world instead of Jehovah.

Explain that the kings of Israel were much like King Ahaz of Judah. Invite a student to read 2 Kings 17:3 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what King Hoshea of Israel did to appease a different king of Assyria.

Explain that 2 Kings 17:4–12 describes how Hoshea offended the Assyrian king and was put in prison, and his people were conquered after three years of siege. You may want to invite students to mark 2 Kings 17:6, which describes the downfall of the kingdom of Israel and the beginning of the scattering of the ten tribes of Israel.

Invite a student to read 2 Kings 17:13–14 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what the Lord did before He allowed the Assyrians to conquer and carry away the kingdom of Israel.

  • What truth can we learn from these verses about how the Lord tries to save His people? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: The Lord sends prophets to preach repentance and help us live righteously.)

Because they hardened their hearts against the Lord’s servants, the people of the kingdom of Israel were conquered and taken captive by Assyria. Their identity as distinct tribes and as the covenant people of Jehovah was lost. However, the ten tribes are not lost to the Lord, and some of them were visited by Jesus Christ after His Resurrection (see 3 Nephi 15:15–16:5). The scattering of the ten tribes began with the Assyrians, and they were eventually scattered and lost among other peoples of the earth (see 1 Nephi 22:3–5). They will remain lost until they turn their hearts to Jesus Christ as part of the Restoration and gathering in the latter days (see D&C 110:11; Articles of Faith 1:10).

Invite students to read 2 Kings 17:15–17 silently, looking for what the Israelites did to please other people and nations. Ask them to report what they find.

  • According to verse 15, what did the Israelites reject? What did they follow?

  • According to verse 16, what did the Israelites leave? Whom did they serve?

  • According to verse 17, what did the Israelites do to their children? What things did they turn to for revelation?

Ask a student to read 2 Kings 17:18–21, 23 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the results of the Israelites’ open rebellion and wickedness.

  • What do you think the phrase “removed them out of his sight” (verse 18) means?

  • According to verse 20, what did the Lord do as a result of their wickedness?

  • What can we learn from the accounts of the wicked kings of Israel and Judah trying to please the corrupt nations around them? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that when we seek to please others above God, we lose His protection.)

  • What are some examples of situations in which a Latter-day Saint youth might be tempted to please others above God?

To provide an example of one young woman who sought to please God instead of her peers, you may want to invite a student to read aloud the following account shared by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Andersen, Neil L.

“I spoke with a Laurel from the United States. I quote from her email:

“‘This past year some of my friends on Facebook began posting their position on marriage. Many favored same-sex marriage, and several LDS youth indicated they “liked” the postings. I made no comment.

“‘I decided to declare my belief in traditional marriage in a thoughtful way.

“‘With my profile picture, I added the caption “I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.” Almost instantly I started receiving messages. “You are selfish.” “You are judgmental.” One compared me to a slave owner. And I received this post from a great friend who is a strong member of the Church: “You need to catch up with the times. Things are changing and so should you.”

“‘I did not fight back,’ she said, ‘but I did not take my statement down’” (“Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 19–20).

  • How did this young woman show her loyalty to God instead of to her peers?

Read the following questions aloud, and give students time between questions to ponder their responses: (1) Do I think more about pleasing others than I do about pleasing God? (2) What are some things that distract me from loving God or that turn my heart and mind away from Him? (3) How have I recently shown God that I love Him above all others?

Invite students to share experiences they have had when they or someone they know loved God and tried to please Him above others and were blessed with His guidance or protection. You may want to conclude by sharing an experience of your own.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Kings 16:3. Did Ahaz sacrifice a son to Molech?

“This verse leaves some doubt about what Ahaz did. Did he kill his son or merely initiate him into the worship of a false god? Second Chronicles 28:3 supports the idea of an actual human sacrifice, and the commentators generally agree that Ahaz did murder some of his children in this fashion.

“‘So far as the fact is concerned, we have here the first instance of an actual Moloch-sacrifice among the Israelites, i.e. of one performed by slaying and burning. …

“‘The offering of his son for Moloch took place, in all probability, during the severe oppression of Ahaz by the Syrians, and was intended to appease the wrath of the gods, as was done by the king of the Moabites in similar circumstances [2 Kings 3:27].’ [C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 10 vols. (n.d.; repr., 1975), 3:1:399–400]” (Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 126).

2 Kings 17:18. What tribes were carried away and what tribes were left?

Assyria practiced a policy of deporting and relocating conquered peoples. Thus, they moved Israelites to foreign lands and brought other foreign captives into the land Israel had possessed. The foreign peoples that the Assyrians moved into the land of Israel after the conquest were the ancestors of the people who became the Samaritans. These chapters relate the origins of the animosity between Jews and Samaritans.

“The statement that ‘there was none left but the tribe of Judah only’ can be understood correctly only if one realizes that at this time Benjamin, Levi, and all other Israelites who had left the nation of Israel and joined Judah were included under the title of Judah [for Judah was the chief tribe in the south]. The ten tribes carried into captivity at this time were Reuben, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulon, Gad, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Ephraim, and Manasseh. [Ephraim was the chief tribe in this northern kingdom and as such the northern tribes or the tribes of Israel were often collectively called Ephraim.] The three remaining tribes were Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Some of the tribe of Levi were still with Israel (the ten tribes), however, and some of Ephraim, Manasseh, and other tribes were with Judah, [such as Lehi, who was descended from Manasseh (see Alma 10:3)]. So, the division is not as clear as a superficial reading might indicate” (Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 127).

2 Kings 13–17. The kings of Judah and Israel

You may want to refer to the “Bible Chronology” tables in the Bible appendix, on, or in the Gospel Library app on your mobile device. This chronology lists the kings of Judah and Israel and their concurrent reigns.