1 Kings or The First Book of The Kings

1 Kings

1 Kings

photo by Angela Sevin

1 Kings or the First Book of the Kings is one of the two texts that make up the Book of Kings included in the Former Prophets section of the Nevi’im. 1 Kings presents a biblical account of the history of Israel and Judah starting from the time of the demise of David to release of David’s successor Jehoiachin who was imprisoned in Babylon. The period discussed in the books roughly comprise to about 400 years, i.e. from 960 BC to 560 BC. Like other Biblical works such as the Books of Samuel and the Book of Chronicles, the books 1 Kings and 2 Kings were originally one single text, simply known as Kings in Hebrew traditions. However, the modern division of the book into two parts including 1 Kings and 2 Kings was undertaken in the year 1448.

Not much is known about the exact identity of the person/persons who authored the book of 1 Kings. Although Jeremiah is mentioned as the author in the Hebrew traditions, most modern scholars accept this view as likely. However, whoever wrote 1 Kings, was clearly well informed about the books of Deuteronomy, much like several of the other Israeli prophets. Another fact is quite imminent from the books that both the books of Kings were written by compiling information from numerous sources. Some of the sources that were included in these books are the book of annals of King Solomon, the book of annals of kings of Israel and the book of annals of kings of Judah.

1 Kings opens with an extensive account on the Solomonic Era and goes on to describe his succession to the royal throne, the salient features of Solomon’s reign, the Wisdom of Solomon, and discusses in detail the building project of the temple that he undertook. Accounts pertaining to the furnishings of the temple as well as its dedications have also been stated here. Lord comes to Solomon and tells him that great blessings await the Israelites provided they are obedient and major curses will follow if they forsake the one true God. Solomon is then visited by Queen of Sheba, and Solomon’s wisdom and wealth become far greater than any other king on earth.

At this juncture of 1 Kings, Solomon gets married to non-Israelite women who deviates his heart towards worshipping of false gods. This led Lord to invoke adversarial relations for Solomon. He faced opposition from Jeroboam, which threatened his throne. Rehoboam becomes the king after the death of Solomon. The kingdom of Solomon is then divided into two parts – the northern and the southern kingdoms. A description of the ministries of Elisha and Elijah is presented, along with God’s attempts through his prophets for channeling his people to the path of righteousness that they once followed.

Instability and violence characterized the socio-political state of the Northern Kingdom. Twenty rulers from nine different dynasties ascended the throne in the 210 years between 930 BC and 720 BC. The southern kingdom was ruled by the descendants of David. Twenty kings ruled the southern kingdom from about 345 years.  Receive free bible quotes from 1 Kings now.