Kings & Prophets

Few Christians have a deep understanding of the Old Testament kings of Israel, or the prophets and their messages. The purpose of this series is to allow anybody to quickly gain a better understanding of those things, as well as an appreciation of how that information is relevant today. The Old Testament prophets were real people who proclaimed important messages from God that have stayed true for thousands of years. Jesus and the apostles thought the kings and prophets were important, so we should, too.

It is no wonder that few Christians have deep familiarity of the kings and prophets. Christians tend to read the New Testament, while the kings and prophets are in the Old Testament. The books of the kings and prophets  are not arranged in chronological order, the history of ancient Israel and its neighbors is complex, and the geography of the region is an ever-shifting jigsaw puzzle. The language of the prophets is often symbolic or metaphorical, and the intended messages seem to be shrouded in mystery. Lastly, many people assume that Old Testament prophecies have mostly been fulfilled, so they must not still be very important.

Perhaps our attitudes would change if we thought of prophets as truth tellers, not fortune tellers. Their truths stand important today. Besides, it may be that a number of their prophecies of the future have not yet been fulfilled.

Changing History

The demise of the Northern Kingdom continued with the kings following Ahab. The next three were Ahaziah, Jehoram (also known as Joram), and Jehu.

Ahaziah was the son of King Ahab, and he reigned only two years. Elijah prophesied that his death would occur because of his worship of idolatry. This was one of the last known acts of Elijah, the most powerful of all the many prophets in Israel..

Upon Elijah’s mysterious death, Elisha became the main prophet. Elisha’s ministry occurred during the reigns of Jehoram and Jehu. Some of the most well-known stories about the prophets in the Hebrew Bible have to do with Elisha, such as the story of the widow and the olive oil, or the story of the healing of Naaman, the leper.

A story that is less well-known is the time Elisha fed a hundred prophets with twenty barley loaves and had bread left over. Surely the people in the crowd hundreds of years later would have thought of that story when Jesus fed the five thousand.

Jehu, Elisha, slave girl
Primary Scriptures:
2 Kings 2-10
Story Summary:
Northern Kingdom during time of Elisha
Northern Kingdom
848-797 BC