Mark H. Muska Fall 2013
1. Author: unknown, but probably one person because of the unity of writing style throughout the books.
1.1 As with 1-2 Samuel, the writer had access to several named sources: Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41), Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (14:29) and Israel (14:19).
1.2 The author appears to write soon after the start of the Babylonian Captivity (c. 550). He refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah taken to Babylon (2 Kings 25), to the 37th year of the exile (25:27), but does not mention the return from Babylon.
1.3 Some of the great writers of that period include Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Ezra.
2. Date: the events of 1 Kings begin with David very old and his successor in question, about 970. 2 Kings ends noting King Jehoiachin’s release from prison in Babylon in about 560. Without definite evidence to the contrary, the book was probably written soon after the events in the book conclude, somewhere in the middle of the Babylonian exile in the mid-500’s.
3. Structure: as with 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings appear to have originally been one book because there is no major break in the narrative from 1 Kings to 2 Kings. The two books together have three major sections.
3.1 United Kingdom: David and Solomon (1 Kings 1-11).
3.2 Divided Kingdom: Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12 to 2 Kings 17).
3.3 Kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 18-25).
4. Purpose: to evaluate the rise and fall of Israel because of the disobedience of the kings. The books could be appropriately titled “The Rise, Decline, and Fall of the Hebrew Monarchy.”
5. United Kingdom: David and Solomon (1 Kings 1-11).
5.1 This section explains the initial deterioration of the nation after it reaches its greatest power.
5.2 The nation expands to its greatest power with Solomon, yet because of his wandering, the nation begins to decline. It is predicted that the Northern tribes will be torn from Solomon and his family (1 Kings 11:11-13).
5.3 David establishes Solomon as king just before David’s death (1 Kings 2:12) and charges Solomon to remain faithful, for the kingdom to endure (1 Kings 2:1-4).
5.4 Solomon serves God with sincerity, seeking the good of the nation by asking for wisdom to rule well (1 Kings 3:6-9).
5.5 God grants grants Solomon’s request for wisdom, then God prospers him like no other king in Israel before or after (1 Kings 3:10-14).
5.6 Solomon is also faithful to build the temple (1 Kings 6:1).
5.61 God promises to bless Solomon, but the promise is conditional (1 Kings 6:11-13).
5.62 How do we reconcile this condition on Solomon with the unconditional promise to David in 2 Samuel 7?
Each son of David must follow God to prosper.
If they do not, God will put another son of David on the throne in their place.
5.63 The temple is fabulous and ornate (1 Kings 6:23-28, for example).
5.64 God dwells in the Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11).
5.65 Israel celebrates with worship and joy (1 Kings 8:62-66).
5.7 Solomon and the entire nation prosper greatly (1 Kings 10:14-21).
5.71 Solomon’s house is also build, symbolizing that as God’s presence is established in the nation (in the Temple being built), the king is also established with a firm rule (7:1-12).
5.8 Yet the end of Solomon’s life is tragic. Solomon wanders away from the Lord to idols (1 Kings 11:1-4). The consequences for him and the nation are far-reaching.
5.81 The immediate result is adversity for Solomon and the nation: Hadad the Edomite (1 Kings 11:14-22), Rezon (11:23-25), and, most significantly, Jeroboam (11:26).
5.82 The long-term result is that most of the tribes will be taken from David’s dynasty. Only Judah will remain (11:9-13, 29-36).
5.83 David’s line of kings is inconsistent after the time of Solomon, over the next 400 years. Some are great kings, and the kingdom prospers.