Introduction to the Book of Kings

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The book of Kings used to be one book but was arbitrarily divided because Greek and Latin is a wordier language than Hebrew. It tells of Solomon’s reign and then 38 other kings who ruled.

The book of 1 Kings mainly follows the life and times of King Solomon, David’s son with Bathsheba. He grew up in the royal palace with all the advantages that affords. He wrote 1005 songs and 3000 proverbs, which we have some in the book of Proverbs. He was the wisest man in the world, thanks to God giving him the gift of wisdom.

Israel experienced its Golden Age under King Solomon, a time forever remembered by the Jewish people. Most of the Promised Land was occupied by Israel and there was peace and prosperity.

Solomon’s greatest accomplishment, the building of God’s temple, took place with 200,000 workers laboring 7 years to complete it.

However, later on, Solomon fell — and Israel along with him. The problem lay in Solomon himself. Prone to excesses, he wasted money on such things as gold shields, ivory, peacocks, and silver. He built himself a palace that was twice the size of God’s temple. He married foreign wives (700 in total) and had 300 concubines. Then, he began to build altars to foreign gods.

God was never the center of Solomon’s life, as God had been for his father, David. To pay for his extravagant building projects, a tax was instituted, and he kept workers as virtual slaves. He ceded northern towns, and resentment grew, leading to the split between Israel and Judah.

2 Chronicles follows this time period as well, often offering more details that the book of Kings. The prophets preached during this time as well, with Elijah’s story being told in 1 Kings.

Following God’s laws seems simple; but as you and I (as well as Solomon) all know, it’s not so simple as it appears.

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