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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Continuing Significance of the Books of Kings

Like the other books that make up the Deuteronomistic History of Israel, the books of Kings put in sharp focus the consequences of failing to remain absolutely committed to the Lord and to the pattern of life given to Israel in the book of Deuteronomy. What the books illustrate is a continuing pattern of failure to live responsibly. Although Kings focuses almost exclusively on the actions of the ruling class, it certainly intended its message for a wider audience. These books remind believers today that they bear a responsibility to act on the Word. Election offers no guarantees; rather, it calls believers to greater commitment. The books of Joshua to 2 Kings tell a sad and tragic story. What began with so much hope ends in disaster. It is not a pleasant story—especially in 2 Kings, when it becomes clear that the two Israelite kingdoms are headed toward self‐destruction. But the reader today knows that Jerusalem's fall, the end of the national state, and the collapse of all Judahite religious and political institutions were not the end of the story. God's mercy triumphed over God's justice, and a renewed Judah emerged from the exile. The story of Israel in its land makes it absolutely clear that God's moral demands must be taken seriously. Failing to do so brings disaster. But despite this, believers recognize that God is still love.

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