This second book of the Kings (which the Septuagint, numbering from Samuel, called the fourth) is a continuation of the former book; and, some think, might better have been made to begin with the fifty-first verse of the foregoing chapter, where the reign of Ahaziah begins. The former book had an illustrious beginning, in the glories of the kingdom of Israel, when it was entire; this has a melancholy conclusion, in the desolations of the kingdoms of Israel first, and then of Judah, after they had been long broken into two: for a kingdom divided against itself cometh to destruction. But, as Elijah's mighty works were very much the glory of the former book, towards the latter end of it, so were Elisha's the glory of this, towards the beginning of it. These prophets out-shone their princes; and therefore, as far as they go, the history shall be accounted for in them. Here is, I. Elijah fetching fire from heaven and ascending in fire to heaven, ch. 1 and 2. II. Elisha working many miracles, both for prince and people, Israelites and foreigners, ch. 3-7. III. Hazael and Jehu anointed, the former for the correction of Israel, the latter for the destruction of the house of Ahab and the worship of Baal, ch. 8–10. IV. The reign of several of the kings, both of Judah and Israel, ch. 11–16. V. The captivity of the ten tribes, ch. 17. VI. The good and glorious reign of Hezekiah, ch. 18–20. VII. Manassah's wicked reign, and Josiah's good one, ch. 21–23. VIII. The destruction of Jerusalem by the king of Babylon, ch. 24 and 25. This history, in the several passages of it, confirms that observation of Solomon, That righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is the reproach of any people.
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