historical book recounting the reign of Solomon, the break-up of the
nation into northern and southern kingdoms, the kings of both those
kingdoms in their early days, and the ministry of the prophet Elijah.
(Probably written initially as 1 book with 2 Kings)
written : some suggest
about 560 or 550BC
Gets its name, very obviously, from the
fact that the two books cover the whole period of the kings of Israel
and Judah , the northern and southern kingdoms that divided after Solomon.
Solomon started out with great hopes,
a man given wisdom by God which enabled him to rule wisely (if not somewhat
harshly) and produced a very rich kingdom. He himself was probably the
richest man in the world at that time.
Sadly, Solomon disobeyed and disregarded
God's wisdom and married many women from other nations and allowed their
worship to enter the palace and eventually he drifted away from the
Lord and ended up jaded and cynical (see Ecclesiastes).
Because of this the Lord said he would
divide the kingdom and only leave his family with two tribes.
When he died, his son Rehoboam foolishly
disregarded the wisdom of the elders and provoked a rebellion against
him resulting in the ten northern tribes setting up independently under
The book follows the two sets of kings
with the northern ones being bad without exception, allowing (if not
guiding) the northern kingdom to worship idols.
At chapter 17 we are introduced to the
prophet Elijah and follow his activities for a while in the time of
the reign of Ahab of Israel.
Two other kings follow before the end
of the book.
King Solomon's Reign
Government, Success, and building & establishing the Temple
Queen of Sheba visits
Solomon's folly and throne threatened
Rehoboam succeeds to the throne
from Jeroboam I/Rehoboam to Ahab/Asa
The Ministries of Elijah and Other
Prophets from Ahab/Asa
to Ahaziah /Jehoshaphat
- 22:40 Elijah
(and Other Prophets) in the Reign of Ahab
17 Elijah and the drought
on Mount Carmel
flight to Horeb
prophet condemns Ahab for sparing Ben-Hadad
condemns Ahab for seizing Naboth's vineyard
Micaiah prophesies Ahab's death; its
Jehoshaphat of Judah
Ahaziah of Israel
the sake of continuity in understanding we
continue into 2
The Ministries of Elijah and Elisha during the Reigns of Ahaziah and
Elijah in the Reign of Ahaziah
Elijah's Translation; Elisha's Inauguration
Elisha in the Reign of Joram
Elisha's initial miraculous signs
Elisha during the campaign against Moab
Elisha's ministry to needy ones in Israel
Elisha delivers one of the prophets & Joram from Aramean
Aramean siege of Samaria lifted, as Elisha prophesied
The Shunammite's land restored
Elisha prophesies Hazael's oppression of Israel
Israel and Judah from Joram/Jehoram to the Exile of Israel
Jehoram & Ahaziah of Judah
& 10 Jehu's Revolt and Reign in Israel
& 12 Athaliah and Joash of Judah ; Repair of the Temple
Jehoahaz of Israel , Jehoash of Israel ; Elisha's Last Prophecy
Exile of Israel ; Resettlement
of the Land
Judah from Hezekiah to the Babylonian Exile
Jehoahaz Exiled to Egypt
- 24:7 Jehoiakim:
First Babylonian Deportation
Jehoiachin: Second Babylonian Deportation
- 25:21 Zedekiah:
Third Babylonian Deportation
Removal of the Remnant to Egypt
Elevation of Jehoiachin in Babylon
David to Solomon
Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, "Have you not heard that
Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king without our lord David's
knowing it?.... So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room…..
She said to him, "My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant
by the LORD your God: `Solomon your son shall be king after me, and
he will sit on my throne.' But now Adonijah has become king, and you,
my lord the king, do not know about it. The
king then took an oath: "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered
me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore
to you by the LORD, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king
after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place."
the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his
son. "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said.
"So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your
God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his
laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may
prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep
his promise to me: `If your descendants watch how they live, and if
they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will
never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'
made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter.
He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace
and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem . The people,
however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple
had not yet been built for the Name of the LORD. Solomon showed his
love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father
David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high
Lord gives Solomon Wisdom
Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and
God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Solomon
answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father
David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart.
You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son
to sit on his throne this very day. "Now, O LORD my God, you have
made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a
little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant
is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous
to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern
your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able
to govern this great people of yours?" The Lord was pleased that
Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, "Since you have
asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have
asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering
justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning
heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will
there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for--both
riches and honor--so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among
kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands
as David your father did, I will give you a long life."
the temple and installing the Ark
foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid in the fourth year, in
the month of Ziv. In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth
month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications.
He had spent seven years building it
all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, and
they brought up the ark of the LORD and the Tent of Meeting and all
the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up,
and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered
about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle
that they could not be recorded or counted. The priests then brought
the ark of the LORD's covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of
the temple, the Most Holy Place , and put it beneath the wings of the
the priests withdrew from the Holy Place , the cloud filled the temple
of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because
of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.
Solomon's Prayers at
the dedication of the Temple – essential reading!
The Lord speaks to Solomon
about obedience – essential reading
Queen of Sheba recognises the work of God in Solomon's activities
the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation
to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions…..
When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace
he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the
attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings
he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed….. How happy
your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before
you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted
in you and placed you on the throne of Israel . Because of the LORD's
eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and
Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter--Moabites,
Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations
about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry
with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods."
Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred
wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led
him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other
gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the
heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess
of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So
Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD
completely, as David his father had done.
Lord's declarations about the future because of Solomon
LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from
the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although
he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep
the LORD's command. So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is
your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which
I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you
and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake
of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will
tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom
from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant
and for the sake of Jerusalem , which I have chosen."
that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem , and Ahijah the prophet
of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were
alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was
wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take
ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel,
says: `See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand and
give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city
of Jerusalem , which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel ,
he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me
and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god
of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked
in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes
and laws as David, Solomon's father, did. " `But I will not take
the whole kingdom out of Solomon's hand; I have made him ruler all the
days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and
who observed my commands and statutes. I will take the kingdom from
his son's hands and give you ten tribes. I will give one tribe to his
son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem
, the city where I chose to put my Name. However, as for you, I will
take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will
be king over Israel . If you do whatever I command you and walk in my
ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands,
as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty
as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.
I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever.'
dies, Rehoboam, succeeds him and the kingdom divides
reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with
his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam
his son succeeded him as king.
Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young
men who had grown up with him and were serving him
the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from
the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of
Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite. When all Israel saw that the king
refused to listen to them, they answered the king: "What share
do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel!
Look after your own house, O David!" So the Israelites went home.
But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah , Rehoboam
still ruled over them.
idolatry set up in Israel
thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the
house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple
of the LORD in Jerusalem , they will again give their allegiance to
their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah . They will kill me and return to
King Rehoboam." After seeking advice, the king made two golden
calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up
to Jerusalem . Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out
of Egypt ." One he set up in Bethel , and the other in Dan. And
this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship
the one there.
not much better
in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up
his jealous anger more than their fathers had done. They also set up
for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every
high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine
prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices
of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. In the
fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem
kings of Judah , bad and good
the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah
became king of Judah , and he reigned in Jerusalem three years.
His mother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. He committed all
the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully
devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather
had been. Nevertheless, for David's sake the LORD his God gave him a
lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem
strong. For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and
had not failed to keep any of the LORD's commands all the days of his
life--except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.
Abijah rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David .
And Asa his son succeeded him as king. In
the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah,
and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother's name
was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the eyes
of the LORD, as his father David had done. He expelled the male
shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers
had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as
queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. Asa cut
the pole down and burned it in the Kidron Valley . Although he did not
remove the high places, Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD
all his life.
son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of
Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did evil
in the eyes of the LORD, walking in the ways of his father and in his
sin, which he had caused Israel to commit.
killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him
as king. As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam's whole family.
He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all,
according to the word of the LORD given through his servant Ahijah the
Shilonite-- because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused
Israel to commit, and because he provoked the LORD, the God of Israel,
the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son
of Baasha became king of Israel , and he reigned in Tirzah two years.
Zimri , one of his officials, who had command of half
his chariots, plotted against him. Elah was in Tirzah at the time, getting
drunk in the home of Arza, the man in charge of the palace at Tirzah.
Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh
year of Asa king of Judah . Then he succeeded him as king. As soon as
he began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha's
whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend.
So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the
word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu-- because
of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused
Israel to commit, so that they provoked the LORD, the God of Israel,
to anger by their worthless idols.
the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the
king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri , the commander
of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp…. But
Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those
before him. He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and in
his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked
the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols.
the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab
son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel
twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the
LORD than any of those before him.
the prophet declares a drought
Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead , said to Ahab, "As
the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither
dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah:
"Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land."
So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between
two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow
the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed:
"O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today
that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done
all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these
people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning
their hearts back again." Then
the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the
stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When
all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD--he
is God! The LORD--he is God!"
Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all
the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to
say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by
this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He
replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The
Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and
put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and
now they are trying to kill me too." The LORD said to him, "Go
back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus . When you get
there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi
king over Israel , and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah
to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the
sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword
of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel --all whose knees have
not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."
passes the prophetic mantle to Elisha
Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing
with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair.
Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left
his oxen and ran after Elijah. ….
He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing
equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate.
Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant
son of Asa became king of Judah in the fourth year
of Ahab king of Israel . Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when
he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother's
name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. In everything he walked in the ways
of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right
in the eyes of the LORD.
Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the
city of David his father. And Jehoram his son succeeded
son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the
seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel
two years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, because he walked in
the ways of his father and mother and in the ways of Jeroboam son of
Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served and worshiped Baal and provoked
the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.
If the kings of Israel and Judah represent
humanity in general, this book is like putting a magnifying glass
over humanity and having their sinful frailty revealed.
At the beginning of the book Solomon
has everything going for him: he has the example of a godly father,
he has the support of others close to him, and he receives a gift
of wisdom from the Lord. It all ought to go well!
Tragically, despite that wisdom he disregarded
god's warnings about foreign wives and ends his life in a godless
place with the judgment of God declared that will not let his family
carry on ruling over all Israel . Yet for the sake of David, his father,
his son will be allowed to continue to reign over two of the twelve
When the division takes place, the Lord
speaks through His prophet to Jeroboam, who leads the northern ten
tribes, and you would have thought that that encounter would have
set him up to be a godly king – but no! He reasons with human wisdom
that because Jerusalem the focus of the Lord is in the south, he will
need to establish religion that is strictly in the north, and establishes
idols at the northern and southern boundaries that lead the nation
into ongoing idolatry.
The northern kings are a disaster and
the southern ones not much better.
With the advent of the ministry of Elijah
(and later Elisha) you would have thought that the guidance and direction
of the Lord was so strong that it would be heeded – but largely not!
Israel are on the path for destruction
and it is only the advent of some good kings in the south that mean
that Judah are a couple of centuries behind in their own downfall
(both of which will appear in the second book).
From reading these accounts it can never
be said that God did not try with these people. They are given opportunity
after opportunity to get on the right track, but the presence of Sin
in the human race is too strong. Not a happy conclusion!