The second Book of Kings continues to look at the progressive decline of the two kingdoms to the North and to the South, Israel and Judah.
It would be a mistake to believe that the nation prospered at first because it had good and just kings, David and Solomon, and that after them the bad kings ruined everything; or that the Jewish people who were destroyed by the Chaldeans were more sinful than David’s contemporaries.
When we read attentively, we realize that the author of the book does not judge the founders of the kingdom and their successors with the same severity. Was Jeroboam II, who restored prosperity and independence to Israel and brought peace for forty years, inferior to Solomon? Was he, perhaps, less of a believer? And yet, the first Book of Kings delights in de scribing Solomon’s luxury, vanity and greatness, whereas the second Book of Kings treats Jeroboam II only one paragraph, as if the fact of having a temple other than the one in Jerusalem was a priori a condemnation of all his achievements.
Here we must see God’s way of teaching. At first he encourages his people with the possibility of achieving independence and prosperity, because they live in the historical moment when this conquest must be accomplished. God does not show them all the negative aspects of what they are doing; he does not point out Solomon’s faults or the vanity of his luxury. But, later, God invites his people to observe with a critical eye, and while the great dream of Solomon’s kingdom is vanishing, God teaches them to seek another more lasting and important conquest, that of the Reign of Justice.