The First Book of Kings continues the history of the Israelite monarchy begun in the Books of Samuel. It may be divided into three parts: (1) The succession of Solomon as king of Israel and Judah, and the death of his father David. (2) The reign and achievements of Solomon. Especially noteworthy is the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. (3) The division of the nation into the northern and southern kingdoms, and the stories of the kings who ruled them down to the middle of the ninth century bc.
In 1 and 2 Kings each ruler is judged according to his loyalty to God, and national success is seen as depending on this loyalty. Idolatry and disobedience, on the other hand, lead to disaster. The kings of the northern kingdom all fail the test, while the record of Judah's kings is mixed.
Prominent in 1 Kings are the prophets of the Lord, those courageous spokesmen for God who warned the people not to worship idols and not to disobey God. Especially notable is Elijah and the story of his contest with the priests of Baal (chapter 18).
Outline of Contents
The end of David's reign 1.1—2.12
Solomon becomes king 2.13–46
Solomon's reign 3.1—11.43
a. The early years 3.1—4.34
b. The Temple is built 5.1—8.66
c. The later years 9.1—11.43
The divided kingdom 12.1—22.53
a. The revolt of the northern tribes 12.1—14.20
b. The kings of Judah and of Israel 14.21—16.34
c. The Prophet Elijah 17.1—19.21
d. King Ahab of Israel 20.1—22.40
e. Jehoshaphat of Judah and Ahaziah of Israel 22.41–53