The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22


Author: Unknown; as 1 and 2 Kings continue the account started in 1 and 2 Samuel, it is possible that these books were produced by contemporary prophets.

Period: c 970-586 BC.

Name: In the original Heb text 1Ki and 2Ki are counted as one book called "Kings." The book was divided into two in the LXX. There, the books of Samuel and Kings are called the First, Second, Third and Fourth Books of Kingdoms. In the Latin Vulgate, these same books are referred to as First, Second, Third and Fourth Kings.

Summary: 1Ki and 2Ki contain the history of the Jewish monarchy from the death of David (around 970 BC) to the Babylonian exile (587/6 BC). They trace the division of the Israelite nation into the Kingdom of Judah in the south and the Kingdom of Israel in the north. 1Ki and 2Ki record Israel's history from a religious, rather than a civil, viewpoint. As such, it records the religious progress of the nation and sets forth the various steps in the moral growth and decay of the Kingdom. 1Ki opens with Israel in its glory and 2Ki closes with Israel in ruins. The purpose of the Books of Kings is to record the lives and characters of the nation's leaders as a warning and exhortation to all subsequent generations of covenant bearers.

Key verses

"Be strong, show yourself a man, and obverse what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements... so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go" (1Ki 2:2-3).

"The Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence" (2Ki 17:20).


"Samuel-Kings was written just after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The author, whether it was Jeremiah or someone else from the 'school of the prophets,' had access to the royal records of both the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah, as well as records that antedated the Divided Kingdom period. It is truly a story about the history of the kings of Israel, beginning with the desire to have a king because of the wickedness of first Eli's sons and then Samuel's, down to the wickedness of the last kings of Judah before it became time to 'overturn, overturn, overturn... until he come whose right it is' (Ezek 21:27). Samuel-Kings then documents much of the reasons for judgment.

"Chronicles, on the other hand, was written more to encourage the returning exiles. From the opening words citing Cyrus' decree, down through the selection of material showing God's continuing grace even during times of judgment, the writer of Chronicles (Ezra?) concentrates on God's plan to return the exiles back to the land, living righteously under God's rulership. The Chronicles record differs from that of Samuel-Kings with regard to Abijah's reign and also Manasseh's... the differing treatments of David's reign are also instructive. If one only reads Chronicles, one would never know about the seven-and-a-half years of Ishbosheth's reign, about David's sin regarding Bathsheba and Uriah, or about any of the fallout from that sin -- namely what happened with Amnon and Tamar, and about all that involved Absalom's rebellion.

"In short, Samuel-Kings serves to document why God was right to judge both Israel and Judah, while Chronicles was focusing more on God's mercy" (DB).

1Ki / 2Ki, OUTLINE

1. The united kingdom: From Solomon to Rehoboam: 1Ki 1:1 - 11:43

  1. Solomon's ascension to the throne: 1Ki 1:1 - 2:46
  2. The wisdom and wealth of Solomon: 1Ki 3:1 - 4:34
  3. Solomon's building activity: 1Ki 5:1 - 9:28
  4. Solomon's golden age: 1Ki 10:1-29
  5. Solomon's apostasy, decline and death: 1Ki 11:1-43
2. The divided kingdom: From Rehoboam to the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel: 1Ki 12:1 - 2Ki 17:41

* Antagonism between Israel and Judah, Jeroboam to Omri: 1Ki 12:1 - 16:28

a) Jeroboam I of Israel: 1Ki 12:15 – 14:20
b) Rehoboam of Judah: 1Ki 14:21–31
c) Abijah of Judah: 1Ki 15:1–8
d) Asa of Judah: 1Ki 15:9–24
e) Nadab of Israel: 1Ki 15:25–32
f) Baasha of Israel: 1Ki 15:33–16:7
g) Elah of Israel: 1Ki 16:8–14
h) Zimri of Israel: 1Ki 16:15–20
i) Omri of Israel: 1Ki 16:21–28

* From Ahab to the ascension of Jehu: 1Ki 16:29 - 2Ki 8:29

a) Ahab of Israel: 1Ki 16:29–34
b) Elijah in the reign of Ahab: 1Ki 17:1–22:40
c) Jehoshaphat of Judah: 1Ki 22:41–50
d) Ahaziah of Israel; Elijah's last prophecy: 1Ki 22:51 – 2Ki 1:18
e) Elijah's translation; Elisha's inauguration: 2Ki 2:1–18
f) Elisha in the reign of Joram: 2Ki 2:19–8:15
g) Jehoram of Judah: 2Ki 8:16–24
h) Ahaziah of Judah: 2Ki 8:25–29

* From Jehu to the destruction of Israel: 2Ki 9:1 - 17:41

a) Jehu's revolt and reign: 2Ki 9:1–10:36
b) Athaliah and Joash of Judah; repair of temple: 2Ki 11:1–12:21
c) Jehoahaz of Israel: 2Ki 13:1–9
d) Jehoash of Israel; Elisha's last prophecy: 2Ki 13:10–25
e) Amaziah of Judah: 2Ki 14:1–22
f) Jeroboam II of Israel: 2Ki 14:23–29
g) Azariah of Judah: 2Ki 15:1–7
h) Zechariah of Israel: 2Ki 15:8–12
i) Shallum of Israel: 2Ki 15:13–16
j) Menahem of Israel: 2Ki 15:17–22
k) Pekahiah of Israel: 2Ki 15:23–26
l) Pekah of Israel: 2Ki 15:27–31
m) Jotham of Judah: 2Ki 15:32–38
n) Ahaz of Judah: 2Ki 16:1–20
o) Hoshea of Israel: 2Ki 17:1–6
p) Exile of Israel; resettlement of land: 2Ki 17:7–41

* Judah from Hezekiah to Babylonian exile: 2Ki 18:1 – 25:30

a) Hezekiah: 2Ki 18:1 – 20:21
b) Manasseh: 2Ki 21:1–18
c) Amon: 2Ki 21:19–26
d) Josiah: 2Ki 22:1–23:30
e) Jehoahaz exiled to Egypt: 2Ki 23:31–35
f) Jehoiakim: first Babylonian invasion: 2Ki 23:36–24:7
g) Jehoiachin: second Babylonian invasion: 2Ki 24:8–17
h) Zedekiah: 2Ki 24:18–20
i) Babylonian exile of Judah: 2Ki 25:1–26
j) Jehoiachin in Babylon: 2Ki 25:27–30

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