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 b.c.
In the two books of Kings each ruler is judged according to his loyalty to God, and national success is seen as depending on this loyalty, while idolatry and disobedience lead to disaster. The kings of the northern kingdom all fail the test, while the record of Judah's kings is mixed.
Prominent in First 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)
First and Second Kings continue the history of Israel. First Kings starts with stories about David's son Solomon who was known as Israel's wisest king. After the death of Solomon, the united Israelite kingdom split into two separate kingdoms: Israel in the north, led by various monarchies, and Judah in the south, led by descendants of David and Solomon. Intertwined with the stories of warfare are the stories of two of ancient Israel's great prophets and miracle workers—Elijah and Elisha.