Following the fall of Samaria, the southern kingdom continued to exist, though surely in a weakened condition. Throughout the preceding turmoil, which eventually led to the destruction of Samaria, Judah tried diligently to keep peace with the Assyrians. Such efforts, as we have seen, left her a vassal state of Assyria at least by the time of Ahaz (16:7-9).
With the northern kingdom suffering the consequences of her sin, the editor's attention now shifts totally to Judah. At the same time, various questions in the readers' minds anxiously anticipate answers. Given a combination of seemingly conflicting factors—namely, the theological perspective of the editor, the fact that already in 1Ki 14:22-24 and several times thereafter Judah received negative evaluations, and the primacy of the Davidic kingship—what will now happen to the southern kingdom? Will the experiences of Israel in any way help Judah alter her sinful course and avoid a similar fate? And in light of his preserving the southern kingdom previously because of David, will Yahweh even allow her destruction? With such pressing questions in view, 2Ki 18:1-25:30 will, readers hope, provide some answers.
In this final major section of the book of Kings, Judah does in fact experience certain moments of victory and revival. Yet the efforts of both Hezekiah and Josiah prove inadequate to offset years of disobedience and the influence of several evil kings. As such, although the southern kingdom remains for some 150 years after the destruction of Israel, a similar fate does in fact await her. With the Assyrians leaving the historical scene, however, it will be left for someone else to serve as Yahweh's hand of judgment.
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