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The Drama and Intrigue of Kings II

Highlighting: “II Kings: In a Whirlwind,” by Rabbi Alex Israel. Maggid Books. Koren Publishers Jerusalem. 2019. English. Hardcover. 412 pages. ISBN: 9781592644940.

The Book of Kings narrates the turbulent history of Israel from the Temple’s construction until its destruction and the national exile. In “II Kings: In a Whirlwind,” Bible educator Rabbi Alex Israel brings the personalities, events and messages of the second book of Kings to life. The reader will encounter Elisha, the extraordinary prophet and miracle maker, the bloody mutiny of Jehu, the terrible fall of Samaria and the exile of the 10 tribes, the nail-biting tension faced by King Hezekiah as he withstands the great Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, the devastating idolatry of Manasseh and the religious revolution of King Josiah.

This exciting historical period finds Judah and Israel frequently “in a whirlwind,” caught in the turmoil of religious and political forces that threaten the very survival of the kingdoms. Using traditional and modern commentary, literary analysis, archaeology and Near-Eastern history, this insightful volume leads the reader through the complex lines of the biblical narrative in an enthralling and readable commentary.

“II Kings: In a Whirlwind” is part of the Stone Edition Maggid Studies in Tanach, a multi-volume series that explores the texts, themes and personalities of the Bible. Each volume features an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates traditional rabbinic interpretations with scholarly literary techniques. This new volume is preceded by Rabbi Israel’s “I Kings: Torn in Two.”

Rabbi Alex Israel is a master educator whose teaching over more than two decades has inspired thousands of students worldwide to engage deeply with biblical texts. Born and raised in London, Rabbi Israel moved to Israel in 1991. Following several years of study at Yeshivat Har Etzion, he received rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Israel also holds degrees from London School of Economics; the Institute of Education, London; and Bar Ilan University. He serves as director of community education at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and teaches Tanach at various institutions in Jerusalem.

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