Introduction to the Book of Kings

Image result for book of kings

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.

People of the Promised Land: Solomon

People of the Promised Land: Solomon

Peter Paul Ruben's the Judgement of Solomon
Peter Paul Ruben’s the Judgment of Solomon

Nothing evokes wisdom like the name of Solomon.

But Solomon was more than the guy who told two prostitutes arguing over one baby to cut the baby in half to discern the true mother. Solomon built the kingdom of Israel to its greatest geographical extension and material prosperity. He also brought the kingdom to its knees with his policies of oppression and luxury. So who was Solomon? Why do we in the 21st century care?

Who was Solomon?

Son of David and the third king of Israel, Solomon lived from approximately 970-930 BC. Having every advantage as the son of a king, God offers Solomon whatever his heart desires–and he chooses wisdom. A lot of the Proverbs are written by him. Proclaimed king by his father, David, Solomon reaped the hard work of David, as Israel flourished in its Golden Age. The Promised Land had been attained, and the nation was at peace. Solomon built God’s temple, the finest building in the world at that time. He beefed up the military and engaged in trade with other nations, bringing in untold riches to Israel.

Israel right after Solomon's Death
Israel right after Solomon’s Death

Yet, Solomon did not have the heart for God that his father, David, did (1 Kings 11:6). He strayed and as he fell, so too did Israel. He marries a foreign wife. He makes burnt offerings to his wives’ gods. He indulges in excesses. To pay for all of it, he instituted Israel’s first taxation system. He sold off northern towns to other kings. God was not the center of Solomon’s life. Civil war erupted and Israel and Judah were once again separate nations, which is the subject of BSF’s People of the Promised Land Part II.

What Can We Learn from Solomon’s Life?

Even someone with the best advantages and a heart from God can fall if he or she strays. Solomon had every advantage and finished a disappointment. God equipped him to accomplish the tasks laid before him, which Solomon did when he believed in him. Solomon allowed ungodly people (namely his wives) to influence him. He turned from God, and the downward spiral sped up.

Here’s a great post on 10 Life Lessons we can learn from Solomon HERE