Summary of 1 Kings
First Kings continues the story where 2 The judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel left off. Chapters 1-2 complete the presentation of the reign of Second king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. and the succession of Third king of Israel who was known for wisdom and building the first Temple. Chapters 3-11 depict Solomon’s glorious reign, highlighted by the construction of the The Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged…, but including his ultimate apostasy. Chapters 12-14 relate Jeroboam’s rebellion, his censure by the prophets, and the resulting division of the nation into the The Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and lasted for 200 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 721 B.C.E. In the northern kingdom the kings were evil. Prophets like Elijah and Amos railed against them and their evildoing. of Israel and the The Southern Kingdom consisted of two tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin. Jerusalem was its capital, and the kingdom lasted from 931-586 B.C.E. As with the Northern Kingdom many of the kings were wicked, and prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spoke their often judgmental… of Judah was the name of Jacob’s fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. in 722 B.C.E. The rest of 1 Kings details the reigns of the divided monarchy, alternating between the north and the south, but with the bulk of the material considering the period of Israelite supremacy, especially under Omri and King of Israel who opposed Elijah. In this period the prophet A miracle working Israelite prophet who opposed worship of Baal. is a dominant force.
First Kings uses the history of the kings of Judah and Israel to explain the destruction of Jerusalem to those experiencing exile in Babylon in the hope that they might gain a new self-understanding. It is a story of the monarchy’s failure and deserved judgment. But it is also a story of God’s unrelenting commitment to God’s people through divine words of hope, judgment, summons, and warning, as God seeks to maintain the covenantal relationship with God’s people. We, too, need to hear that a patient and merciful God awaits our response and listens to our prayers.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
First Kings is the eleventh book in the Old Testament, immediately after 2 Samuel and before 2 Kings.
WHO WROTE IT?
Ancient tradition identifies Prophet who condemned Judah’s infidelity to God, warned of Babylonian conquest, and promised a new covenant as the author of 1 and 2 Kings. Today, many scholars believe that 1 and 2 Kings are the concluding part of the Deuteronomistic history refers to the narrative contained in the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings. This narrative, probably written in the age of Israel’s exile (mid-6th century B.C.E.), recounts Israel’s history prior to the exile. and that various older traditions have been gathered together and edited by a nameless exilic editor or editors.
WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?
The final event recorded in the books of Kings occurred in 561 B.C.E. Since the return from Babylon (538 B.C.E.) is not recorded, one assumes that–as part of the Deuteronomistic History–1 Kings reached its final form sometime between these dates during the Babylonian exile.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
First Kings begins by recounting the end of David’s reign and the grisly events that led to the succession of Solomon (1 Kings 1-2). This is followed by the reign of Solomon, in which the temple was constructed (1 Kings 3-11); the division of the nation into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12); and the early history of these two kingdoms (1 Kings 13-22).
HOW DO I READ IT?
First Kings looks like a history of Judah, the southern kingdom, and Israel, the northern kingdom. While important historical information is presented, some of it is at odds with the presentation found in 1 and 2 Chronicles. Both Chronicles and Kings should be read as theological, rather than historical, presentations of the years of the monarchy. Kings is designed to demonstrate the reasons for The fall refers specifically to the disobedience of Adam and Eve when they listened to Satan rather than adhering to God’s command not to eat the fruit from the tree. When people act contrary to God’s will, they are said to fall from from grace… of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722/721 B.C.E. and Judah’s exile to Babylon in 587/586 B.C.E.