1 Kings

Simon Sherwin, Lower Methil, Leven, Fife, Scotland [SEE PROFILE BELOW]

Precious Seed

Introduction

The two books of Kings and 2 Chronicles cover the period of the monarchy from the reign of Solomon down to the captivity of the nation of Judah in Babylon. Whilst, during the period of the divided kingdom from Rehoboam and Jeroboam I onwards, Kings deals with the history of both kingdoms, Chronicles confines itself to the southern kingdom of Judah, only mentioning Israelite kings when they have a bearing on the history of Judah. The view of Chronicles regarding the northern kingdom of Israel is summed up in chapter 10 verse 19, ‘And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day’. The existence of the northern kingdom was a denial of the essential unity of the nation of Israel as a whole. Whilst the chronology of the books of Kings until the captivity of the northern kingdom, therefore, is somewhat convoluted, because the writer is weaving together two separate histories, the narrative in Chronicles is much more straightforward. Although based on contemporary sources, which are often cited, both Kings and Chronicles are the work of a later author, though in neither case is the author known.

Date

It is to be assumed that the books of Kings are to be dated to the period of the Babylonian exile, c. 586-539 BC. More specifically, 2 Kings ends with the beginning of the reign of Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, 562-560 BC, and the partial betterment of King Jehoiachin’s circumstances. Given that no mention is made anywhere of the return from Babylon, nor is there any hope of it, it is likely that its composition falls within this time frame. 2 Chronicles, on the other hand, ends with the decree of Cyrus that permits the return of the exiles to the land, the decree with which the book of Ezra begins. It is possible, therefore, that the bulk of the books of Chronicles could have been composed around this time, after 539 BC, although the inclusion of genealogies at the beginning of 1 Chronicles, e.g. 3. 19-24, that stretch into the intertestamental period, means that it could be later, possibly in the late 400s BC. Consistent with it being an exilic book, there is no singing anywhere in Kings – cp. Ps. 137. 4, ‘how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’ However, singing is mentioned several times in Chronicles, and is a key feature of revival amongst the Lord’s people.

Purpose

In crude terms, Kings is written to explain why the exile was inevitable and that God is just in His judgements. Chronicles, on the other hand, is much more positive, stressing the possibility of recovery. In New Testament terms, Kings could be related to the great white throne, where every man is judged ‘according to their works’, Rev. 20. 13. Chronicles is the judgement seat of Christ, where what is to be commended is brought to light and then shall ‘every man have praise of God’, 1 Cor. 4. 5. Of course, this can only be true in general terms, for, sadly, in Chronicles, not every king can be commended. However, it is certainly true that several kings receive commendation whom we would have completely written off, had we only the account in Kings to go by. Kings is a book that deals with sin and its consequences. Chronicles, in contrast, deals with the possibilities and potential when the Lord is given His place, however imperfectly or briefly.

Analysis

Chapter 1 – The coronation of Solomon

Abishag cherishes David, vv. 1-4.
Adonijah conspires to take the throne, vv. 5-10.
Nathan counsels Bathsheba, vv. 11-14.
Bathsheba consults David, vv. 15-21.
Nathan confirms Bathsheba’s word, vv. 22-27.
Solomon’s coronation, vv. 28-40.
Jonathan carries tidings, vv. 41-49.
Adonijah clings to the altar, vv. 50-53.

Chapter 2 – cleansing the kingdom

The death of David, vv. 1-12.
Dealing with defaulters, vv. 13-46.
Adonijah, vv. 13-25;
Abiathar, vv. 26, 27; 
Joab, vv. 28-35;
Shimei, vv. 36-46. 

Chapter 3 – Solomon’s wisdom

Solomon’s affinity with Egypt, v. 1.
Solomon asks for wisdom, vv. 2-15.
Solomon adjudicates between two harlots, vv. 16-28. 

Chapter 4 – Solomon’s kingdom

Solomon’s personnel, vv. 1-6.
Solomon’s provision, vv. 7-19.
Solomon’s prosperity, vv. 20-34. 

Chapter 5 – Preparation for the Temple

Solomon requests materials from Hiram of Tyre, vv. 1-6. 
Hiram’s response and Solomon’s payment, vv. 7-12.
Requisition of labour, vv. 13-18.

Chapter 6 – Building the Temple

Construction of the Temple, vv. 1-10.
The Lord’s contract with Israel, vv. 11-13. 
Cladding the house and the oracle, vv. 14-22.
Other construction, vv. 23-36:
The cherubim, vv. 23-30; 
The doors and their carvings, vv. 31-35;
The inner court, v. 36.
The calendar of construction, vv. 37, 38. 

Chapter 7 – Other buildings and furniture for the Temple

Solomon’s house and the house of the forest of Lebanon, vv. 1-12. 
Hiram’s handiwork, vv. 13-47.
Hiram’s credentials, vv. 13, 14;
The pillars, vv. 15-22; 
The sea, vv. 23-26; 
The bases, vv. 27-37;
The lavers, vv. 38, 39;
Summary, vv. 40-47;
Summary of golden furniture, vv. 48-51.

Chapter 8 – The dedication of the Temple

The dedication of the Temple, vv. 1-11.
Solomon’s blessing, vv. 12-21.
Solomon’s prayer, vv. 22-61.
Sacrifices and feasting, vv. 62-66.

Chapter 9

The Lord’s promise, vv. 1-9.
Hiram’s cities, vv. 10-14. 
Solomon’s cities, vv. 15-25.
Solomon’s ships, vv. 26-28.

Chapter 10

The Queen of Sheba, vv. 1-13.
Quantifying Solomon’s wealth, vv. 14-29. 

Chapter 11

Solomon’s downfall, vv. 1-13. 
Solomon’s adversaries, vv. 14-40. 
Hadad, vv. 14-22; 
Rezon, vv. 23-25; 
Jeroboam, vv. 26-40. 
Solomon’s death, vv. 41-43.

Rehoboam and Jeroboam I

Chapter 12 

Rehoboam’s choice and Israel’s rebellion, vv. 1-20. 
Rehoboam’s response and the Lord’s intervention, vv. 21-24. 
Jeroboam and the golden calves, vv. 25-33.

Chapter 13 – The sad story of the man of God

The pronouncement of the man of God, vv. 1-10. 
The prophet’s deception, vv. 11-19. The prophet’s prophecy, vv. 20-22. The punishment of the man of God, vv. 23-32. 
The priests of Jeroboam, vv. 33, 34. 

Chapter 14

The death of Jeroboam’s son, vv. 1-18.
The death of Jeroboam, vv. 19, 20. The iniquity of Rehoboam, vv. 21-24.
The invasion of Shishak, vv. 25-28.
The death of Rehoboam, vv. 29-31.

Abijam, Asa, Nadab, Baasha

Chapter 15

Abijam of Judah, vv. 1-8.
Asa’s reforms, vv. 9-15. Asa and Baasha, vv. 16-24: 
Asa’s recourse to the Syrians, vv. 16-22;
Asa’s reign ends in disease and death, vv. 23, 24.
Nadab’s condition, vv. 25, 26. 
Baasha’s conspiracy and commencement, vv. 27-34. 

Chapter 16

Jehu’s condemnation of Baasha, vv. 1-7. 

Elah, Zimri, Omri 

Elah, Zimri’s rebellion and ruthlessness, vv. 8-14. 
Israel rent by civil war, vv. 15-22: 
Omri’s success. Zimri’s suicide, vv. 15-20; 
Omri v. Tibni. Omri wins, vv. 21, 22. 
Omri’s reign, vv. 23-28. 

Ahab

Ahab’s unparalleled provocation, vv. 29-34. 

Chapter 17 – Elijah

Elijah’s pronouncement, v. 1.
The Lord’s provision by the brook Cherith, vv. 2-7. 
The Lord’s provision in Zarephath, vv. 8-16.
The Lord’s power displayed, vv. 17-24.

Chapter 18 – Elijah on Carmel

Elijah’s mission, v. 1. 
Obadiah’s misgivings, vv. 2-16. 
Elijah musters the people, vv. 17-20.
Elijah makes a challenge, vv. 21-24.
Elijah mocks the prophets, vv. 25-29.
Elijah mends the altar, vv. 30-37. 
The fire falls from heaven, vv. 38, 39.
The prophets are put to death, v. 40.
Raining and running, vv. 41-46.

Chapter 19 – Elijah on Sinai

Jezebel’s threats, vv. 1, 2. 
Elijah’s flight, vv. 3-8.
The Lord’s answer, vv. 9-18. 
Elisha’s call, vv. 19-21. 

Chapter 20 – Ahab’s wars with Syria

The God of the hills, vv. 1-21. 
The God of the valleys, vv. 22-30. 
Ahab spares Benhadad, vv. 31-34. 
The Lord sentences Ahab, vv. 35-43.

Chapter 21 – Naboth’s vineyard

Ahab’s request and Naboth’s refusal, vv. 1-4. 
Jezebel’s solution and Naboth’s slaughter, vv. 5-14. 
Ahab’s possession and Elijah’s pronouncement, vv. 15-24.
Ahab responds, and the Lord relents, vv. 25-29.

Chapter 22 – The battle of Ramoth Gilead

Ahab and Jehoshaphat plan the battle, vv. 1-4.
The prophets are consulted, vv. 5-7.
Micaiah’s prophecy, vv. 8-28.
The battle and death of Ahab, vv. 29-40.

Jehoshaphat 

Chapter 22

Jehoshaphat and his walk, vv. 41-43.
Jehoshaphat and his works, vv. 44-47.
Jehoshaphat’s disastrous alliance with Ahaziah, vv. 48, 49.
Jehoshaphat’s death, v. 50. 

Ahaziah 

Ahaziah begins to reign in Israel, vv. 51-53

AUTHOR PROFILE: Simon is in fellowship in the Lower Methil assembly, Leven, Fife, Scotland. He has contributed a number of articles to assembly periodicals.