1 Kings
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.

General Editor:—J. J. S. PEROWNE, D.D.

Dean of Peterborough.


of the










[All Rights reserved.]



The General Editor of The Cambridge Bible for Schools thinks it right to say that he does not hold himself responsible either for the interpretation of particular passages which the Editors of the several Books have adopted, or for any opinion on points of doctrine that they may have expressed. In the New Testament more especially questions arise of the deepest theological import, on which the ablest and most conscientious interpreters have differed and always will differ. His aim has been in all such cases to leave each Contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment, only taking care that mere controversy should as far as possible be avoided. He has contented himself chiefly with a careful revision of the notes, with pointing out omissions, with suggesting occasionally a reconsideration of some question, or a fuller treatment of difficult passages, and the like.

Beyond this he has not attempted to interfere, feeling it better that each Commentary should have its own individual character, and being convinced that freshness and variety of treatment are more than a compensation for any lack of uniformity in the Series.

Deanery, Peterborough.


  I.  Introduction

  i.  Title and Divisions, Date, Author, Canonicity and Sources of the Books of Kings

  ii.  Hebrew Text and Versions

  iii.  Summary of the contents of I. Kings

  iv.  Character of the Book of Kings, and its relation to the other books of the Old Testament

  II.  Notes

  III.  Index

*** The Text adopted in this Edition is that of Dr Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragraph Bible. A few variations from the ordinary Text, chiefly in the spelling of certain words, and in the use of italics, will be noticed. For the principles adopted by Dr Scrivener as regards the printing of the Text see his Introduction to the Paragraph Bible, published by the Cambridge University Press.


i. Title and Divisions, Date, Author, Canonicity and Sources of the Books of Kings

(a) What we name 1 and 2 Kings was anciently only one book, called by the Jews ‘the Book of Kings.’ It was broken into two parts by the Greek translators of the Septuagint, who did the same by the book of Samuel and the book of Chronicles, which also at first were both single books. The division between 1 and 2 Kings is made in the middle of the short reign of Ahaziah, king of Israel, a severance which would never have been made by the compiler. Having made two parts out of Samuel, and two out of the Kings, the Greek translators, named the four portions thus formed, the first, the second, third and fourth books of the kingdoms, or, of the kings. The Latin versions followed the divisions, but not the names, of the Greek. The two portions of Samuel, they called 1 and 2 Samuel, and our books 1 and 2 Kings. Jerome though he knew that each of these pairs was but one book, did not attempt to change titles which had been so long accepted[1]. And the whole of the Western Church has followed the Vulgate.

[1] On this see Jerome’s preface to the Books of Samuel and Kings.

The Jews did not for many centuries adopt the division which had thus become current among Christians. They were led to do so at last for readiness of reference in the frequently recurring controversies between the Christians and themselves. The earliest adoption of the Christian chapters in the Old Testament has generally been attributed to Rabbi Isaac Nathan, who began a Concordance in 1437. But in the Cambridge University Library there is a Hebrew MS.[2], of at least a century earlier date, in which the Christian divisions are marked all the way through. Into printed Hebrew Bibles they were introduced by Daniel Bomberg in 1518.

[2] No. 13. See Catalogue of Heb. MSS. by Dr Schiller-Szinessy, p. 17.

(b) To the date of the compilation of the Book of Kings we are guided by the latest events that are mentioned in it. The last chapter (2 Kings 25) concludes with the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, when Evil-Merodach released him from prison. This happened b.c. 561. But this last chapter and a few verses 18–20 of chapter 24 are identical with chapter 52 of the prophecy of Jeremiah. There however the closing words of chapter 51 ‘Thus far are the words of Jeremiah’ plainly shew that what follows was added by one who thought it no integral part of the prophecy, but added it to complete the historical notices found in other parts of that book, and added it most likely from this book of Kings. We may therefore conclude that this book was compiled after b.c. 561. But the compiler has no word, even of hope, to record concerning the final deliverance of the nation from captivity. That deliverance commenced with the decree of Cyrus, b.c. 536, though the final migrations did not take place till the days of Nehemiah nearly a century later, b.c. 445. Had he known of any movement in the direction of a return, the writer would surely have made mention of it. He is cheered, apparently, at the close of his work, by the clemency shewn to Jehoiachin. He would hardly have passed over any agitation for the national redemption without a word of notice. The book was therefore finished before b.c. 536, and its date lies between that year and b.c. 561.

(c) Who the compiler was we have no means of deciding. The Jewish tradition[3] ascribes it to Jeremiah. But this is exceedingly improbable. The closing events recorded took place in Babylon. But at the overthrow of Jerusalem, Jeremiah was carried by the anti-Babylonian faction into Egypt (Jeremiah 43:6-7) and after his arrival there we know not what befel him. His outspoken prediction, however, of evils to come on Egypt and on those who sought shelter there was not likely to go unpunished by the Jews who had brought him with them. Jewish writings[4] speak of his escape to Babylon. But the statement is merely an opinion in support of the current tradition. Nothing whatever is known of his fate, and there is no ground whatever, beyond tradition, for supposing him to have been the compiler of the Kings.

[3] T. B. Baba Bathra 15 a.

[4] Seder Olam Rabba 20.

(d) In the Hebrew Bible the book stands as part of the division called by the Jews ‘the Earlier Prophets.’ From the Jews it was received into the Christian Canon, and there has never been any question about its acceptance.

(e) The compiler specifies three sources from which his narrative is drawn:

(1) The Book of the acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41) as the authority for Solomon’s reigns.

(2) The Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah, mentioned fifteen times: for the acts of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:29); of Abijam (1 Kings 15:7); of Asa (1 Kings 15:23); of Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:45); of Joram (2 Kings 8:23); of Joash (2 Kings 12:19); of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:18); of Azariah (2 Kings 15:6); of Jotham (2 Kings 15:36); of Ahaz (2 Kings 16:19); of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:20); of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:17); of Amon (2 Kings 21:25); of Josiah (2 Kings 23:28) and of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:5).

(3) The Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel, quoted seventeen times: in the history of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat (1 Kings 14:19); of Nadab (1 Kings 15:31); of Baasha (1 Kings 16:5); of Elah (1 Kings 16:14); of Zimri (1 Kings 16:20); of Omri (1 Kings 16:27); of Ahab (1 Kings 22:39); of Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:18); of Jehu (2 Kings 10:34); of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:8); of Joash (2 Kings 13:12); of Jeroboam ii. (2 Kings 14:28); of Zachariah (2 Kings 15:11); of Shallum (2 Kings 15:15); of Menahem (2 Kings 15:21); of Pekahiah (2 Kings 15:26); and of Pekah (2 Kings 15:31).

We have but to turn to the Books of Chronicles to find out the character of the writings to which these three general titles are given. The Chronicler adheres so closely to the language of Kings throughout the history of Solomon, that a comparison at once convinces us that he drew his narrative from the same documents as the earlier compiler. But he (2 Chronicles 9:29) describes his authorities as ‘the Book’ (R.V. history) ‘of Nathan the prophet, the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the visions of Iddo the seer.’

We find here the key to the origin and character of all the three sources of information accessible to the compiler of Kings. ‘The Book of the acts of Solomon’ comprised three works written by Prophets contemporary with Solomon, and which, embracing the whole period of his reign, were naturally soon gathered into one treatise, and called by one collective name. The prophetic spirit and the religious drift of all we read in the history is thus accounted for. In the notes it has been remarked that the whole purpose of the narrative is to picture Solomon’s life a success, and the building of the Temple as acceptable, in so far only as the one was led in the fear of Jehovah, and the other stood as a token of obedience to the divine Will; and that when Solomon’s decline began, it is God who is represented as raising up the adversaries against him. A record of such a character is the composition of no mere historiographer, but bears on the face of it the imprint of prophetic hands.

When we turn to the second authority which the compiler quotes, ‘the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah’ and compare with it the works cited by the Chronicler, the same conclusion is arrived at. ‘The Book’ (R.V. histories) ‘of Shemaiah the prophet and Iddo the seer’ are quoted by him (2 Chronicles 12:15) as containing the events of the reign of Rehoboam, and his narrative, drawn from thence, is practically identical with the record in Kings. The same may be said concerning Abijam’s reign, for which the Chronicler refers (2 Chronicles 13:22) to ‘the story’ (R.V. commentary) ‘of the prophet Iddo.’ The authority which he gives for Jehoshaphat’s reign (2 Chronicles 20:34) is ‘the Book’ (R.V. history) ‘of Jehu, the son of Hanani.’ And after this reference a sentence follows, translated in R.V. thus: ‘which is inserted in the Book of the kings of Israel[5].’ This is precisely the explanation to which all the evidence tends. The prophets wrote their several books, and as time went on they were taken up, and included in the large collection which at last acquired the title ‘the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel (or Judah).’ We find it noticed further (2 Chronicles 26:22) that Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz was the writer of the history of Azariah (Uzziah), and also (2 Chronicles 32:32) of the acts and good deeds of Hezekiah. But here again it is stated expressly that ‘the vision of Isaiah’ is included in ‘the Book of the kings of Judah and Israel.’ Once more concerning Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, the Chronicler tells us that his acts are to be found partly ‘in the Book of the kings of Israel’ (2 Chronicles 33:18) and in the following verse, that other things concerning him are written ‘in the history of Hozai’ as the R.V. renders, but the LXX, which the A. V. follows, translated ‘among the sayings of the seers.’

[5] The A. V. gave for this clause ‘who is mentioned in the Book of the kings of Israel,’ but on the margin was added the literal rendering of the Hebrew ‘was made to ascend,’ which when applied to the book and not to the person intimates what is now expressed in R. V.

With regard to the other kings, whose history is recorded in Chronicles, the writer is content with referring to ‘the Book of the kings of Judah and Israel,’ as he does (2 Chronicles 16:11) for Asa, and (2 Chronicles 25:28) for Amaziah, and (2 Chronicles 28:26) for Ahaz; or, with the names of the kingdoms in reverse order, to ‘the Book of the kings of Israel and Judah,’ as (2 Chronicles 27:7) for Jotham, (2 Chronicles 35:27) for Josiah, and (2 Chronicles 36:8) for Jehoiakim. In one case, that of Joash, (2 Chronicles 24:27) he merely calls his authority ‘the story’ (R.V. commentary) ‘of the Book of the kings.’ The three modes of reference last mentioned seem to indicate that before the Chronicler undertook his work, the process of combination had gone on so far as to convert all these separate ‘commentaries,’ ‘histories,’ ‘visions,’ and ‘stories’ into one comprehensive work which could be cited indifferently as ‘the Book of the kings of Judah and Israel,’ or, ‘of Israel and Judah,’ or simply as ‘the Book of the kings.’

Of the kings of Israel, except in one or two places where their acts are interwoven with, and affect the history of, the kingdom of Judah, the Chronicler makes no mention. We may safely conclude, however, from the way in which he so often speaks of the ‘Book of the kings of Israel and Judah,’ that he had before him their annals also, though it was foreign to his purpose to record much of them. And the whole history of both kingdoms had been put together on the same plan, and out of like materials, these materials being the writings of the prophets who flourished during the several reigns. We need not then be surprised to find large sections of ‘the Book of kings’ devoted to the lives of the great prophets Elijah and Elisha, and to the history of Micaiah’s appearance before Ahab. The writings of the prophets were not exhausted by the history of the two kingdoms, and no theme would more commend itself to the prophetic scribe than the mighty works of those two champions, who stood forth, at a time when the house of Ahab had led Israel into heathen idolatry, to make known in Israel’s darkest days, by action and speech, that Jehovah had still ‘a prophet in Israel.’

It will be seen, then, that the ‘Book of Kings’ must consist in great part of the writings of those who were contemporary with the events of which they wrote, and that we cannot treat the book as a work of the date when the Compiler lived. And being gathered in the main from prophetic histories, there will naturally be a similarity of motive pervading the whole. To the Compiler we may ascribe those portions which compose the framework of each particular reign, i.e. the accounts of the accession and parentage, and of the death and character of the several kings, in which there is exhibited hardly any variation of form, but the date of all which is not of this character must be judged from internal evidence. The uniform setting of the whole work is important to be noticed as it is a proof of the unity of the composition. To its present form the work has been brought all by the same hand.

ii. Hebrew Text and Versions

It is much to be deplored that we possess no MSS. of the Hebrew Bible of a date earlier than the 10th century of the Christian era. Thus more than a thousand years intervene between the close of the Old Testament Canon and the writing of our oldest copy. It would be marvellous if during so long a period the fallibility of scribes had not, here and there, suffered mistakes to find their way into the text. But the conditions under which it was transmitted were undoubtedly very favourable to its correct preservation. During many centuries the consonants only were written down, the knowledge of the vowels, that were to be read with them, being preserved by tradition. This caused correct reading to be a large part of a Jew’s education, and to insure the retention of the proper vowels, it was permitted to any in the synagogue to interrupt the reader if he introduced a change. Thus the whole people were made conservators of the sacred text.

It was only when the Jewish nation became dispersed, and the safeguards, which had been sufficient and available among a small and united people, were found to be inoperative, that the Jewish scribes, who were the guardians of the correct tradition (Massorah, as it was called), added vowel signs to the consonants, that the people in their dispersion might all preserve the sacred words as they had been handed down for generations. We cannot fix the date when the vowel points were added, but it was certainly not done before the death of Jerome, a.d. 420; and probably not for a century or two later. This form of the text is the same in all our Hebrew MSS., and as it exhibits the traditional reading, it is often spoken of as the Massoretic (i.e. traditional) text. When once such an authoritative text was put forth, none would be more anxious than the Jews themselves to destroy all copies of a different kind. Hence comes, in part at least, the absence of very early MSS.

This gives their value to the ancient versions. They were made at a time anterior to the fixing of the Massoretic text, and therefore help us to judge of the correctness of the Hebrew which has been preserved to us. Three of these are deserving of special mention.

(1) The Septuagint. This is a Greek version made in Alexandria at various times during the third and second centuries before Christ. It owes its name to an ill-founded tradition that it was made by 72 (Septuaginta = 70, the nearest round number) persons sent to Alexandria from Jerusalem at the request of Ptolemy Philadelphus. A comparison of the various parts shews that it was neither made all at one time, nor all by the same translators; but some time before the birth of Christ in consequence of the wide prevalence of the Greek language this version had largely taken the place of the Hebrew text. From it by far the largest part of the quotations in the New Testament are made: it was used by such writers as Philo and Josephus, by the Greek Fathers, and from it were made the various Latin translations which existed before the Vulgate. There exists, as will be seen from the notes, two principal recensions of the Septuagint, one preserved in the Alexandrine MS., which is in the British Museum, and another at the Vatican. The former of these has been largely brought into harmony with the present Hebrew text, and from this cause its value for critical purposes is not so great. The Vatican MS. varies considerably by additions and omissions, and also in arrangement, from the Massoretic text and seems here and there to represent a somewhat different Hebrew. In the books of Kings the help which we derive from the Septuagint is not so great as in some other books (e.g. Samuel) but it will be seen from the notes that certain alterations in the Hebrew text are suggested by it, a few of which for example, in the account of the building of the Temple, are clearly necessary to be made. One long addition has been specially described in the notes (see p. 145) but it deals with a matter which does not concern the correct reading of the text. The history also of which it treats, refers much more to what happened in the days of David than of Solomon, so that all but a very few words in it seem to be out of place where it is inserted.

(2) The Targum[6] (or interpretation) ascribed to Jonathan Ben-Uzziel. This is a Chaldee paraphrase reduced to writing about the fourth century after Christ. For correction of the text it is not so valuable as for the traditional interpretations which it preserves. It was for a long period forbidden to put Targums into writing, and a story is told that when, as Herod’s temple was in building, a written Targum on the book of Job was shewn, an outcry was made that it should be buried beneath the foundation-stones that it might not come into any one’s possession. But Targums exist on nearly the whole of the Bible, though many are of very late date, and only one, that named of Onkelos, on the Pentateuch, is of earlier time than the Targum of Jonathan on the Prophets.

[6] Targum is from the same root from which dragoman, = an interpreter, is derived.

(3) The Vulgate. This name[7] is now given to the Latin version of the Bible made by Jerome of which the Old Testament portion was translated not from the Septuagint but directly from the Hebrew. After preparing, at the request of Pope Damasus, a revision of the Latin version of the New Testament, Jerome took up his residence, from a.d. 387 till his death in a.d. 420, at Bethlehem. There he studied the Hebrew Scriptures, with the guidance of the best Jewish scholars then living in the Holy Land and produced at various times a new Latin translation. Of this Samuel and Kings first appeared[8]. Hence the version which he made is a very precious guide on points of traditional interpretation, and it is also very important as evidence that since Jerome’s day the original Text has suffered no alteration worth noticing. We can see from his renderings that the vowel points now inserted were not always the same as were accepted by Jerome’s teachers, but in the matter of consonants his Hebrew was substantially just the same as ours.

[7] Vulgata versio, was used before Jerome’s time, and by Jerome himself, for the current Latin Version in use. It is a rendering of the Greek ἡ κοινὴ ἔκδοσις which was a name given to the current text of the Septuagint. But after Jerome’s Version took the place of all others in the Western Church the name Vulgate was confined to it.

[8] The preface which Jerome wrote for these books is generally known as the Prologus Galeatus, and gives a full and interesting account of the Hebrew Canon, with the arrangement of the books, and the reasons for such arrangement.

iii. Summary of the contents of 1 Kings

A.  Closing days of the life of David. (1 Kings 1:1 to 1 Kings 2:11)

i. Contest for the succession

  (a)  Adonijah in David’s sickness usurps the kingdom. 1 Kings 1:1-10.

  (b)  Appeal of Bathsheba and Nathan. 1 Kings 1:11-27.

  (c)  Solomon is anointed, as the succession is in dispute. 1 Kings 1:28-41.

  (d)  Alarm of the usurper and his adherents. 1 Kings 1:42-53.

Evil is still raised up out of David’s house; the sword shall never depart. (2 Samuel 12:10-11.)

ii. David’s dying charge

  (a)  To Solomon himself. 1 Kings 2:1-4.

  (b)  Concerning Joab, Barzillai, and Shimei. 1 Kings 2:5-9.

  (c)  Death of David. 1 Kings 2:10-11.

The spirit of his charge is of the Law, not of the Gospel. ‘Of Thy goodness slay mine enemies.’ (Psalm 143:12.)

B.  King Solomon in all his glory. (1 Kings 2:12 to 1 Kings 10:29)

i. Removal of his adversaries

  (a)  Adonijah asking Abishag to wife is put to death. 1 Kings 2:12-25.

  (b)  Abiathar is thrust out of the priesthood. 1 Kings 2:26-27.

  (c)  Joab is slain at the altar. 1 Kings 2:28-35.

  (d)  Shimei transgresses and is not spared. 1 Kings 2:36-46.

‘The wrath of a king is as messengers of death.’ (Proverbs 16:14.) Thus, in the spirit of his age, did Solomon shew himself a man.

ii. His piety and wisdom

  (a)  Gibeon the great high place, no Temple or royal house yet built. 1 Kings 3:1-4.

  (b)  Solomon’s dream, and his prayer for Wis 3:5-15.

  (c)  God’s wisdom in him manifest by his judgement on the harlots. 1 Kings 3:16-28.

‘He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.’ (2 Samuel 23:3.)

iii. Solomon’s magnificence and fame

  (a)  The princes which he had. 1 Kings 4:1-6.

  (b)  His commissariat officers. 1 Kings 4:7-19.

  (c)  Joy and abundance of his reign. 1 Kings 4:20-25.

  (d)  His chariots, horses, and their maintenance. 1 Kings 4:26-28.

  (e)  His understanding and excellent wisdom. 1 Kings 4:29-34.

  (f)  Hiram, the king of Tyre, seeks his friendship, and grants timber for the Temple. 1 Kings 5:1-10.

  (g)  Solomon’s league with Hiram. 1 Kings 5:11-12.

  (h)  Solomon’s levy of labourers to work in Lebanon. 1 Kings 5:13-18.

‘There shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.’ (1 Kings 3:13.) A promise richly fulfilled.

iv. Solomon’s Temple

  (a)  Dimensions of the building. 1 Kings 6:1-4.

  (b)  The chambers that enclosed it round about. 1 Kings 6:5-10.

  (c)  God’s promise to dwell there. 1 Kings 6:11-13.

  (d)  The Holy place and the Oracle. 1 Kings 6:14-22.

  (e)  The cherubim. 1 Kings 6:23-28.

  (f)  Adornment of the walls, the floor and the doors. 1 Kings 6:29-35.

  (g)  The inner court. 1 Kings 6:36.

  (h)  The building finished in seven years, 1 Kings 6:37-38.

‘He shall build a house for My name … I will be his father and he shall be My son. (2 Samuel 7:13-14.)

v. His royal palace

  (a)  The house of the forest of Lebanon. 1 Kings 7:1-5.

  (b)  The porch of pillars. 1 Kings 7:6.

  (c)  The porch of the throne. 1 Kings 7:7.

  (d)  The house of Pharaoh’s daughter. 1 Kings 7:8.

  (e)  Excellence of the work, and the court round about it. 1 Kings 7:9-12.

Note the brief mention of what was built for the king’s own use. Stonework and cedar here, but the gold, and what is richest, for the house of the Lord.

vi. Works of Hiram, the Tyrian founder

  (a)  He casts the pillars, Jachin and Boaz. 1 Kings 7:13-22.

  (b)  The molten sea. 1 Kings 7:23-26.

  (c)  The bases and the lavers to stand upon them. 1 Kings 7:27-39.

  (d)  Summary of Hiram’s work for the exterior. 1 Kings 7:40-47.

  (e)  The vessels of gold for the Holy place. 1 Kings 7:48-51.

Art becomes the handmaid of true religion. ‘The house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical.’ (1 Chronicles 22:5.)

vii. The feast of the Dedication

  (a)  Assembly of Israel. They bring up the ark, and the Temple is filled with the cloud of Glory. 1 Kings 8:1-11.

  (b)  Solomon’s address and thanksgiving. 1 Kings 8:12-21.

  (c)  God’s constant regard invoked. 1 Kings 8:22-30.

  (d)  When an oath is made at the altar. 1 Kings 8:31-32.

  (e)  In times of defeat, of drought, of plague, pestilence and famine. 1 Kings 8:33-40.

  (f)  For strangers who come to worship there. 1 Kings 8:41-43.

  (g)  In time of war, and in the day of captivity. 1 Kings 8:44-53.

  (h)  Solomon blesseth the assembly. 1 Kings 8:54-61.

  (i)  The sacrifices, the feasting and the dismissal of the people. 1 Kings 8:62-66.

  (k)  God’s second appearance to Solomon. Promises and warnings. 1 Kings 9:1-9.

‘Beautiful for situation is … the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge.’ (Psalm 48:2-3.) This knowledge was the source of Israel’s greatness under Solomon.

viii. Solomon’s power, wealth and fame

  (a)  Solomon’s gift of cities to Hiram. 1 Kings 9:10-14.

  (b)  The levy of forced labour from Canaanites and Israelites. 1 Kings 9:15-23.

  (c)  Pharaoh’s daughter brought to her own house. 1 Kings 9:24.

  (d)  Solomon’s observance of the appointed feasts. 1 Kings 9:25.

  (e)  Fleet of Solomon and Hiram. 1 Kings 9:26-28.

  (f)  Visit of the queen of Sheba, her wonder, praise and large gifts. 1 Kings 10:1-13.

  (g)  Solomon’s revenue, and wide fame. 1 Kings 10:14-25.

  (h)  His chariots and horsemen, and traffic with Egypt. 1 Kings 10:26-29.

‘Because of Thy Temple at Jerusalem, kings shall bring presents unto Thee.’ (Psalm 68:29.) Mark how it is in conjunction with the king’s worship, according to God’s law, that this prosperity is showered upon him.

C.  Solomon is turned away from the Lord, and his prosperity is broken. (1 Kings 11:1-43)

God’s face is set against Solomon

  (a)  The anger of God against Solomon, whose heart the strange wives turned away. 1 Kings 11:1-13.

  (b)  God raises up one adversary, Hadad the Edomite. 1 Kings 11:14-22.

  (c)  A second adversary, Rezon the son of Eliada. 1 Kings 11:23-25.

  (d)  A third out of Israel, Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 1 Kings 11:26-28.

  (e)  Ahijah’s prophecy and promise to Jeroboam. 1 Kings 11:29-39.

  (f)  Solomon would have killed Jeroboam. 1 Kings 11:40.

  (g)  Death of Solomon. 1 Kings 11:41-43.

‘The Lord shall stir up jealousy like a man of war. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that say to the molten images, Ye are our Gods.’ (Isaiah 42:13-17.)

D.  The divided kingdoms, Israel and Judah. (1 Kings 12:1 -2 Kings 18:12)

i. Prelude to the separation

  (a)  Petition made to Rehoboam at Shechem. 1 Kings 12:1-5.

  (b)  He follows evil counsel. 1 Kings 12:6-15.

  (c)  Revolt of Israel. Jeroboam chosen for king. 1 Kings 12:16-20.

  (d)  Rehoboam forbidden to fight against Israel. 1 Kings 12:21-24.

God’s hand is manifest in the whole story. ‘God is the judge, He putteth down one and lifteth up another.’ (Psalm 75:7.)

ii. ISRAEL. The son of Nebat who made Israel to sin

  (a)  Jeroboam’s policy; the golden calves, the feast devised of his own heart. 1 Kings 12:25-33.

  (b)  A man of God from Judah to Israel. His message. 1 Kings 13:1-10.

  (c)  His disobedience and its punishment. 1 Kings 13:11-32.

  (d)  Jeroboam persists in his evil way. 1 Kings 13:33-34.

  (e)  Sends to Ahijah concerning the sickness of his son. 1 Kings 14:1-6.

  (f)  The prophet’s message. The truth thereof confirmed by its partial fulfilment. 1 Kings 14:7-18.

  (g)  Death of Jeroboam, 1 Kings 14:19-20.

Commandments spurned bring their punishment. ‘To obey is better than sacrifice. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.’ (1 Samuel 15:22-23.)

iii. JUDAH. The lamp preserved for David’s sake

  (a)  Evil in Judah under Rehoboam. 1 Kings 14:21-24.

  (b)  Shishak plunders the Temple and the king’s house. 1 Kings 14:25-28.

  (c)  Death of Rehoboam. 1 Kings 14:29-31.

  (d)  Abijam walks in the sins of his father. 1 Kings 15:1-8.

  (e)  Asa’s heart perfect with the Lord. 1 Kings 15:9-15.

  (f)  Growing weak in trust he makes a league with Benhadad. 1 Kings 15:16-22.

  (g)  Asa’s death. 1 Kings 15:23-24.

The spoiled Temple is a fit emblem of the falling away of David’s line. God delights in the material house only when true worship is paid in it.

iv. ISRAEL. The way of Jeroboam. The kings

  (a)  Nadab is slain by Baasha. 1 Kings 15:25-31.

  (b)  Baasha king. 1 Kings 15:32-34.

  (c)  The word of the Lord unto Baasha by the mouth of Jehu. 1 Kings 16:1-7.

  (d)  Elah, son of Baasha, slain by Zimri. 1 Kings 16:8-14.

  (e)  Zimri’s seven days’ reign, and traitor’s end. 1 Kings 16:15-20.

  (f)  Omri, after a conflict, obtains the throne and builds Samaria. 1 Kings 16:21-28.

  (g)  Ahab exceeds the wickedness of all who went before him. 1 Kings 16:29-34.

‘Through the wrath of the Lord the land is darkened … no man shall spare his brother.’ (Isaiah 9:19.) Yet note in Israel the ‘pride and stoutness of heart,’ which the prophet rebukes, as shewn in their grand projects of building. (Isaiah 9:10.) ‘For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof.’ (Proverbs 28:2.)

v. Elijah. The prophet in Israel

  (a)  The famine foretold. Elijah hides at Cherith and in Sarepta. 1 Kings 17:1-16.

  (b)  The widow’s son dies and is restored. 1 Kings 17:17-24.

  (c)  Elijah in the presence of Ahab. 1 Kings 18:1-16.

  (d)  The challenge. God against Baal. 1 Kings 18:17-29.

  (e)  The Lord He is God. Baal’s priests are slain. 1 Kings 18:30-40.

  (f)  Promise of rain. 1 Kings 18:41-46.

  (g)  Flight of Elijah to Horeb. 1 Kings 19:1-8.

  (h)  God’s revelations to him there. 1 Kings 19:9-18.

  (i)  The calling of Elisha. 1 Kings 19:19-21.

The bravest of God’s heroes, yet broken in heart at last. He longed to do so much, but learnt at length how God works. ‘I, the Lord, will hasten it in his time.’ (Isaiah 60:22.)

vi. Syrian invasion of Israel

  (a)  Arrogant claims of Benhadad. 1 Kings 20:1-12.

  (b)  Victory promised and given to Ahab. 1 Kings 20:13-21.

  (c)  A new attack defeated in like manner. 1 Kings 20:22-30.

  (d)  Benhadad as cringeing as before he was haughty. 1 Kings 20:31-34.

  (e)  Ahab weakly spares the man whom God had doomed. 1 Kings 20:35-43.

Jehovah, longsuffering, does not cast off his rebellious people, nor let them fall into any hands, but those of his special instruments. ‘I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’ (Malachi 3:6.)

vii. Naboth is stoned and is dead

  (a)  Naboth the Jezreelite refuses to part with his vineyard. 1 Kings 20:1-4.

  (b)  Jezebel compasses the death of Naboth. 1 Kings 20:5-16.

  (c)  Ahab taking possession hears God’s doom from Elijah. 1 Kings 20:17-24.

  (d)  Some signs of repentance gain Ahab a respite. 1 Kings 20:25-29.

The evil examples on the throne have their fruit in other places. ‘If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.’ (Proverbs 29:12.)

viii. Battle of Ramoth-gilead and its sequel

  (a)  Jehoshaphat is induced to go with Ahab to the battle. 1 Kings 22:1-6.

  (b)  He first would consult a prophet of the Lord. 1 Kings 22:7-8.

  (c)  Micaiah and his prophecies. 1 Kings 22:9-28.

  (d)  Ahab’s ignoble end according to the word of Elijah. 1 Kings 22:29-40.

  (e)  Jehoshaphat’s reign over Judah. 1 Kings 22:41-50.

  (f)  Ahaziah follows Ahab his father, on the throne and in his sins. 1 Kings 22:51-53.

Note the evil influence on Jehoshaphat of his alliance with the family of Ahab. He inquires for a prophet of the Lord, but neglects his words. So he was made equal with Ahab, ‘not in his days but in his son’s days’ was the full penalty brought upon his house.

iv. Character of the Book of Kings, and its relation to the other books of the Old Testament

The full consideration of this subject will be deferred till the notes on the other portion of the book are printed. It will be enough at present to point out that the book was clearly designed to be a continuation of the history contained in the Book of Samuel. The writer records the fulfilment of the promises which God had made to David and his line. A son was to succeed David whose kingdom should be established of the Lord, who should build a house for the Name of Jehovah, and to whom God would be a father, and from whom the mercy of the Lord should not depart (2 Samuel 7). To shew that this prophecy was fulfilled is the object of the Book of Kings, and whatever does not conduce thereto is passed over by the compiler with but little notice. There elapsed no doubt some considerable time between the plague in Jerusalem, with which the Book of Samuel closes, and the weak age of David described in the opening paragraph of the Book of Kings. But to give historical events in their full and complete order is no part of our writer’s aim, as we can see from every portion of his work. He therefore begins his narrative with so much, and no more, of the story of David’s later days as serves to introduce the accession of Solomon. Thus he takes up the thread of the previous book, and his subject once opened, he follows the same line throughout. The glory and prosperity of Solomon at first; then his decline from God’s way, and the divinelysent chastisements that followed thereupon, fill a large part of the early chapters. When the kingdom is divided, and the Northern tribes have adopted a forbidden form of worship, the history follows Israel in her long line of wicked princes till sin has brought destruction, while the fortunes of the line of David are so traced as to bring prominently before us the constantly preserved succession, while the closing record of the Book tells how in Babylon one of the royal line still remained, and was lifted up and kindly dealt with by the successor of the monarch who had led him away captive. ‘What God hath promised to the house of David he has thus fulfilled’ expresses the main character of the book, and except where political and military matters illustrate the subject with which he deals the compiler gives them a very passing notice, and as we can see from a comparison with Chronicles he has left out altogether large passages of such history, which he had before him. The chief subjects, other than this fulfilment of prophecy, which he introduces are the histories of Elijah and Elisha. These synchronise with the darkest period of Israel’s history, when Baal-worship had been superadded to the worship of the calves, and they seem specially dwelt on that it may be made manifest how great was God’s longsuffering, and that His promise to Jeroboam, made in as large terms as to David (1 Kings 11:38), was only rendered void by a determined persistence in evil doing.

Without entering at present on the question of the relation of the Book of Kings to the Pentateuch, it can hardly fail to strike the reader how in almost every chapter of 1 Kings, the thread and tissue of the narrative is interwoven with the thoughts and phraseology of the Books of Moses. Such a chapter as that which contains Solomon’s dedication prayer is largely expressed in the words of Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. That chapter might, had it stood alone, have been ascribed to some later writer familiar with the language of the Mosaic writings, and if those books or large portions of them were of late composition, the dedication prayer might also be set down as of late date. But it is not one single chapter which reechoes the Mosaic diction, resemblances of a like kind exist throughout in considerable abundance. And we cannot think that the compiler of Kings, taking in hand documents which existed long before his day, some as far back as the time of Solomon himself, changed their whole character by introducing language, which, according to some, was not existent before the days of king Josiah.

We cannot read the long address of David to Solomon to ‘be strong and keep the charge of the Lord, and to walk in His ways, &c.’ (1 Kings 2:2-3), or Solomon’s injunction concerning Joab’s death ‘that it should take away the innocent blood’ (1 Kings 2:31), or the same king’s description of his people, ‘one which God had chosen, a great people that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude’ (1 Kings 3:8), without feeling that the thoughts and language of Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy were very familiar to writers of these chapters, chapters which are due in all probability in their substance not to the compiler of the Book of Kings, but to Nathan the seer, Ahijah the Shilonite and Iddo the seer, quoted (2 Chronicles 9:29) as the several authorities for the records of Solomon’s reign.

Again in such a history as that of the trial and execution of Naboth, the whole narrative carries us back to the laws, manners and customs which have their rise in the Books of Moses. So too do the frequent phrases which occur of such a kind as that ‘the eyes and heart of God shall be perpetually upon His house’; that offending Israel ‘shall be a proverb and a byword among all people, so that men shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land’; that Israel shall not intermarry with the heathen ‘Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in to you for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Again that proverbial phrase occurring more than once ‘him that is shut up and left in Israel’ has its source in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 32:36), whence also comes the phrase ‘to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities.’ The list of such expressions can be largely increased; and when we consider that these similarities of phrases and words are scattered from end to end of a book, some of the sources of which date back nearly to the time of David, the evidence, drawn from such abundant resemblance, points to a much earlier date for the books of the Law than the reign of Josiah, to which time their composition has been in part assigned; and makes it difficult to ascribe the largely prevailing similarity of language to any other cause than that the prophetic writers, not only in the days of Jeremiah, but in the days of Nathan, Ahijah and Iddo, were very familiar with the phraseology of the Pentateuch.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

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