Good evening (or morning, depending on where you are in the world). Today we read First Kings and the first eight chapters of Second Kings. First, a few encouraging scriptures:
"You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees" (Psalm 119:68).
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1).
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17).
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless" (Psalm 84:11).
"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3).
While some believe Jeremiah is the author for this book, the authorship in unnamed. There are many characters to consider throughout the book. While First Samuel focused primarily on king Saul, and Second Samuel on king David, First Kings focuses on several different kings. David dies in the beginning, then his son Solomon takes the throne. Solomon's son Rehoboam succeeds him on the throne, and many kings to follow in Israel (North) and Judah (South).
Like the book of Judges, the theme of Kings show a stark contrast between kings that obeyed the Lord and those that did not. As time progresses, more and more kings disobey God.
1 Kings 1-11
Throughout the reign of Saul, David, and Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was united. Though each of the kings made poor decisions, the unity of the nation Israel did not suffer detrimentally. In these beginning chapters of First Kings, Adonijah, the son of David by Haggith (2 Sam 3:4). Adonijah attempts to take the throne of David, and rallies the help of Joab (David's commander) and Abiathar the priest. However, the priest Zadok, as well as Benaiah, Nathan (the prophet), and two of David's mighty men, Shimei and Rei, were against Adonijah becoming king. While Adonijah was indeed David's son, he was not to succeed David because David promised Bathsheba that Solomon would be king (which David recalls in 1 Kings 1:28-30).
1 Kings 1:6 says that David never questioned Adonijah for his behavior, so Adonijah must have felt entitled to the throne, especially with being the oldest son. Unfortunately, there were other plans.
Solomon is annointed king, and David instructs him to walk in the ways of the Lord. Afterwards, David died.
Then Solomon prayed for wisdom (1 Kings 3), and God grants him understanding and discernment, such that "Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people in the east and all the wisdom of Egypt" (1 Kings 4:30). Solomon discerns between difficult matters and people are impressed from all over.
Solomon begins to build the temple that David desired for the Lord. David was unable to build it because of "the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him" (1 Kings 5:3).
Solomon builds the temple and brings the ark into the temple, and then prays a prayer of dedication in 1 Kings 8:22-53. Read this prayer; amazing!
Unfortunately, amongst all of the great things Solomon accomplished, he turned from the Lord in 1 Kings 11 and began to worship the gods of his many wives. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (a concubine was actually just a wife; a "second" wife).
1 Kings 12-22
Rehoboam took the throne of Solomon after Solomon died. If you can remember the names Saul, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam, then you can essentiall summarize First Samuel, Second Samuel, and First Kings.
The Split of Israel (930 B.C.)
- Rehoboam went to Shechem to become king of Israel.
- Jeroboam returned from Egypt (where he fled from Solomon because Solomon tried to kill him in 1 Kings 11) and asked Rehoboam to deal more lightly than his father, Solomon.
- Rehoboam takes three days to consider Jeroboam's offer.
- Rehoboam gets advice from old men and then also from young men.
- The old men say to be kind, and the young men say to increase the weight of the yoke.
- Rehoboam disregards the advice of the old men and listens to the young men.
- The Kingdom of Israel divides (the ten northern tribes leave Rehoboam), and Rehoboam is king over Israel in the cities of Judah and Jeroboam ruler of Israel in the north.
Perhaps there could have been some sort of reconciliation. Rehoboam sent one of his supervisors Adoniram to ask the ten tribes to return, but the history is what it is.
Throughout the rest of the First and Second Kings, the Kings are divided among Israel and Judah, and the sin of the tribes increases as the people move further and further away from the Lord.
I will summarize 2 Kings along with our reading tomorrow, as the transition will be more fluid. Elijah and Elisha are character worth waiting for!