Scriptures

Complete Study Of The Book Of 1 Kings

Introduction

In the first eleven chapters of 1 Kings, we find that Solomon becomes the king of Israel, after David dies. Before dying David tells him to walk in God’s ways and so Solomon asks for wisdom from God, which he receives.

Solomon then begins a huge building project, which includes the building of the temple, which David requested. He began building the temple 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt, seven years later, the Ark of the covenant was brought to the temple, and the glory of the Lord descended on it. Solomon then prays and sacrifices are then offered.

Although Solomon was the wisest man around, he did some pretty stupid things, such as worshipping foreign gods, which his many wives introduced him to. It wouldn’t be long after these things happened that his reign would come to an end and he would die.

In the next eleven chapter of 1 Kings, we begin to read about the end of the united kingdom of Israel. The nation as a whole find themselves in a situation where they have some decisions to make, sadly they choose the wrong ones. In 931 B.C., the united kingdom splits in two separate kingdoms, one to the north and one to the south, this was the beginning of the divided kingdom period.

It was during this time that Rehoboam inherits the kingdom and is relentless about enforcing high taxes, this causes the Northern tribes to begin a revolt and Jeroboam is crowned king of Israel. Ten tribes became the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin became the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Near the end we read about how God raises up a prophet named Elijah to warn evil king Ahab to turn from idol worship and to return to the Lord.

Writer

No one knows with any certainty who wrote the Book of 1 Kings, although there are some portions of them and of Jeremiah that are almost identical, 2 Kings 24:18-25:30 / Jeremiah 52:1-34 / Jeremiah 39:1-10 / Jeremiah 40:7-16 / Jeremiah 41:1-10.

There are also many undersigned coincidences between Jeremiah and Kings 2 Kings 21:1-26 / Jeremiah 7:15 / Jeremiah 15:4 / Jeremiah 19:3, and events recorded in Kings of which Jeremiah had personal knowledge.

These facts approve in some degree the tradition that Jeremiah was the author of the books of Kings. But the more probable theory is that Ezra, after the captivity, compiled them from documents written perhaps by David, Solomon, Nathan, Gad, and Iddo, and that he arranged them in the order in which they now exist.

Date

It’s not possible to accurately date the book, but some suggest it written sometime between B.C. 561, when Jehoiachin was released from captivity by Awel-Marduk, and B.C. 538 the date of the decree of deliverance by Cyrus, 2 Kings 25:1-30.

The Book

The two books of Kings formed originally one book in the Hebrew Scriptures. The present division into two books was first made by the LXX., which now, with the Vulgate, numbers them as the third and fourth books of Kings, the two books of Samuel being the first and second books of Kings.

In the threefold division of the Scriptures by the Jews, these books are ranked among the ‘Prophets’. They are frequently quoted or alluded to by our Lord and His apostles, Matthew 6:29 / Matthew 12:42 / Luke 4:25-26 / Luke 10:4 / 2 Kings 4:29 / Mark 1:6 / 2 Kings 1:8 / Matthew 3:4.

Within 1 Kings we find references to other books, such as ‘the book of the acts of Solomon’, 1 Kings 11:41, the ‘book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah’, 1 Kings 14:29 / 1 Kings 15:7 / 1 Kings 15:23, and finally the ‘book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel’, 1 Kings 14:19 / 1 Kings 15:31 / 1 Kings 16:14 / 1 Kings 16:20 / 1 Kings 16:27.

The United Kingdom

The most glorious part of the history of Israel was the United Kingdom, so called to distinguish it from the Divided Kingdom which followed, it lasted from about 1095 to 975 B. C. and included the reigns of three great kings, Saul, David, and Solomon. The story of this period is related in the two books of Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11, 1 Chronicles 1-2 and 1 Chronicles 9.

Saul, Israel’s First King

You will remember that for about 300 years the twelve tribes of Israel had been loosely governed by judges. The last and greatest of these was the prophet Samuel. But the children of Israel wanted to be like their neighbours; they came to Samuel and asked for a king.

Although God was much displeased with their request, He instructed Samuel to anoint as their king a young man named Saul who stood head and shoulders above the people. The people gathered at Mizpeh and were presented with their new ruler who was so timid that he hid among the baggage.

Saul began his forty-year reign well. Israel was beset by enemies and he undertook the task of driving them back. His army defeated the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites and others. Soon Saul was a popular figure among the people. But his popularity went to his head and he ceased to be a humble servant of God.

Instead he became self-willed, bent on doing things the way he wanted them done, regardless of the will of God. On one occasion he was commissioned to ‘utterly destroy the Amalekites.’ Instead he spared the king and saved some sheep and cattle to sacrifice.

Because he had thus disobeyed the Lord, Samuel rebuked him with the words, ‘Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.’ 1 Samuel 15:22. From that time on, God rejected Saul as king.

Saul deeply loved him and selected him as his armour bearer. David quickly rose to prominence by slaying with a sling the champion of the Philistines, the giant Goliath. The ensuing glory given to David provoked the jealousy of Saul who began to suspect that David was trying to supplant him as king. From that time on Saul sought to kill David and for years hunted him as an outlaw over the hills of Israel.

Perhaps the most beautiful friendship in the Bible is that of David and Jonathan, the son of Saul, who, although he realized that David would become king instead of himself, constantly sought to save David from his father’s ire. Saul and Jonathan both fell in battle with the Philistines to prepare the way for David as king.

David, A Man After God’s Heart

After Saul’s death David was crowned king of the tribe of Judah while Saul’s sorry son, Ishbosheth, reigned over the rest of Israel. When his kingdom collapsed after seven years, David’s authority was extended over all Israel. David selected Jerusalem as his capital and set about the task of making Israel a great nation. In successive wars he expanded the kingdom from the Nile to the Euphrates River.

David was truly a man after God’s own heart. The Lord declared of him, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.’ Acts 13:22. The psalms written by David are an expression of his complete devotion to God. This consecration was especially evident in his constant willingness to obey all the Lord’s commands.

We may learn from him that we cannot expect the approval of God unless we are always willing to do what He asks of us without question. In spite of David’s success and his faithfulness to God, he made one grave mistake that followed him to his death. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite.

Some stories have portrayed Bathsheba as a siren who intentionally seduced David. Nothing in the Bible bears out this idea. To cover up his sin, David had Uriah placed in the thick of battle so that he might be slain, and then, when he was dead, took Bathsheba as his wife. All of this greatly displeased God and Nathan the prophet was sent to rebuke David by telling him the parable of the ewe lamb, 2 Samuel 12.

David repented, but his troubles now began. His son Absalom murdered his own brother. Later Absalom led a revolt against David and died in the attempt. For a time, David was forced to flee. Adding to his grief, another son, Adonijah, attempted to usurp the kingdom with the help of David’s trusted general, Joab.

To forestall the kingdom falling into the wrong hands, David had his son, Solomon, crowned king while he yet lived. Shortly thereafter David died, bringing to an end the forty-year reign of a great man of God.

Solomon, From Wisdom To Idolatry

Solomon’s rule was in sharp contrast with his father’s. While David had faced turmoil for almost his entire reign, Solomon’s was one of unbroken peace. He began auspiciously. In a dream he asked of God wisdom rather than riches and honour, and because of his thoughtful request was rewarded with all three. Solomon’s wisdom is known to all. Three thousand proverbs and 1005 songs came forth from this sage!

Much of his wisdom is recorded for us in the three books which he wrote and which we will study in another lesson. Politically he extended the influence of Israel to its greatest height making it a world power.

The fabulous wealth of Solomon astounds us, even in this day. He had 1400 chariots, 12,000 horsemen and an annual income of six hundred three score and six talents of gold. And he didn’t have to pay an income tax!

On one occasion he was given an outright gift of one hundred and twenty talents of gold by the queen of Sheba. When she visited Solomon to see if all the reports of his fame were true, she was so amazed that she exclaimed, ‘Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.’ 1 Kings 10:7.

The greatest of all Solomon’s accomplishments was his building of the temple of God to replace the tabernacle in which Israel had worshipped since the wilderness wanderings. Probably no structure in the world’s history has equalled it in cost. Built by 183,000 men in seven and a half years, it cost an immense sum of money to erect.

The great wealth of Solomon eventually led to his undoing. He sought every kind of pleasure and married 700 wives and 300 concubines. Most of these were idolaters and what a time he must have had in trying to please them all. His high cost of living led him to tax the people heavily, much to their dissatisfaction.

His reign had started with wisdom and wealth; it ended with women and idolatry. When his forty-year rule ended he was a thoroughly disillusioned and unhappy man. In his revelry he had laid the groundwork for the division of his great kingdom after his death.

Outline

The united kingdom and the reign of Solomon. 1 Kings 1-11.
The division of the nation into the northern and southern kingdoms. 1 Kings 12-16.
The appearance of the prophet Elijah. 1 Kings 17-22.

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Complete Study Of The Book Of 1 Kings  

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'"

Matthew 22:37

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