“Unit 20: Day 3, 2 Kings 14–17,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 20: Day 3,” Old Testament Study Guide
In 2 Kings 14–17 we learn about several kings from the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Ahaz, a king of Judah, defiled the temple by sending the temple’s gold and silver to the king of Assyria to gain his favor and help. The kings of Israel perpetuated wickedness, and the Northern Kingdom of Israel was eventually conquered by the Assyrians.
Imagine how you would respond in the following situations:
Your best friend has started using illegal drugs.
As a parent, you discover that your children have been viewing inappropriate shows and images on the television and computer.
Why do you think it would be dangerous to do nothing in these situations?
As you study 2 Kings 14–15, look for what can happen if we do not remove evil influences from our lives and help others do the same.
Read the following references, looking for which of the kings were righteous. When you identify a righteous king, write his name in the box with the reference that describes him. Also identify which kingdom he ruled—Israel or Judah.
What do you notice about all of those kings of Israel? Read 2 Kings 15:29, looking for what happened to the kingdom of Israel because of the wickedness of the people.
When the scriptures state that the kings you identified “did right in the sight of the Lord,” it may mean that they were good and honest men. It may also mean that they worshipped Jehovah righteously. According to 2 Kings 14:4; 15:4; 15:35, even though they were good kings, what did each of them fail to do?
The term “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.
One principle we can learn from the mistakes of these kings is that if we do not remove evil influences from our lives, we place ourselves and our families in spiritual danger.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can allowing unrighteous influences to remain around us affect us over a long period of time?
Reflect prayerfully on whether there are any unrighteous influences that you need to remove. If necessary, pray for strength and courage to remove such influences.
Have you ever seen someone try to please another person in order to obtain something in return? What might the danger be in doing this?
As you study 2 Kings 16–17, look for what can happen when we seek to please others instead of God.
In 2 Kings 16:1–4 we learn that Ahaz did evil in the sight of the Lord by sacrificing his son to the heathen gods and by offering sacrifices in the high places, where those false gods were worshipped.
Read 2 Kings 16:5, looking for the difficulty that Ahaz and the people of Judah faced. (The term besiege means to surround a walled city, not letting in provisions, and waiting until the inhabitants surrender.)
The nations of Israel and Syria intended to force Judah to join them in an alliance against the nation of Assyria. Consider what you think you would have done if you had been in this difficult situation.
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. Ahaz also made unauthorized changes to the holy priesthood ordinances, destroyed or altered the sacred temple lavers and the “sea” (font), had the temple closed, and set up places of idolatry in Jerusalem. How would Ahaz’s actions have been displeasing to the Lord? Whom do you think Ahaz was trying to please?
The kings of Israel similarly favored earthly kings more than the Lord. Read 2 Kings 17:3, looking for what King Hoshea did to appease a different king of Assyria.
We learn in 2 Kings 17:4–15 that Hoshea offended the king of Assyria because he did not continue to send the king presents. He was put into prison, and his people were conquered after three years of siege. Notice that 2 Kings 17:6 marks the end of the kingdom of Israel and the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the scattering of the ten tribes of Israel.
Read 2 Kings 17:13–14, looking for what the Lord did before He allowed the Assyrians to conquer the kingdom and carry away the people of Israel.
What truth can we learn from these verses about how the Lord tries to save His people? (See 2 Nephi 25:9.)
The people in the kingdom of Israel, and often those in the kingdom of Judah, rejected the Lord’s prophets. 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, but the ten tribes are not lost to the Lord. 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 the people of these tribes 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 the gathering of Israel in the latter days (see D&C 110:11; Articles of Faith 1:10).
Read 2 Kings 17:15–17, looking for what the Israelites did to please other people and nations.
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?
Read 2 Kings 17:18–21, 23, looking for what the results were of the Israelites’ wickedness.
It is important to understand that in verse 18, when it says that the Lord “removed them [Israel] out of his sight,” it is another way of saying that they would no longer enjoy His presence. In verse 20, when it says the Lord rejected Israel and “delivered them into the hand of the spoilers,” it is a way of saying that the Lord would no longer provide them with protection. They would be scattered—deported from their own country—and become the captives and servants of other nations.
From the accounts of Ahaz, Hoshea, and the children of Israel, we see that the people of Israel rose up in direct rebellion to the Lord. We also learn that when we seek to please others above God, we lose His presence and protection.
- In your scripture study journal, list at least three situations in which Latter-day Saint youths might be tempted to please others above God.
Reflect on the following questions: Do I think more about pleasing others than I do about pleasing God? What are some things that may distract me from loving God or turn my heart and mind away from Him?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How have you recently shown God that you love Him above all others?
What can you do in the coming week to show that you love God above all things?
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Kings 14–17 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: