25 September, 2016
Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — Introduction to the Book of 1 Kings
Study 0 From the Book of 1 Kings: Is the Introduction of the book
1 and 2 Kings form a single unit, the present somewhat arbitrary division having originated in the Vulgate. They give an account and complete history of the kings and the kingdoms ('of the kingdoms' is the probable literal rendering of the titles). The account bears marks of being the work of a single author using as his sources various documents (see 1 Ki. 11: 41; 14:19, 29; 15:7, etc.) including prophetic memoirs. It is important to remember that the whole is written from the religious and prophetic point of view, not from that of the secular historian. As the New Bible Commentary remarks: 'This is the explanation why certain of the kings who were most important for their contemporaries, e.g., Omri (1 Ki. xvi. 23-28), Azariah or Uzziah (2 Ki. xv. 1-7). Jeroboam II (2 Ki. Xiv 23-29), are passed over in virtual silence. It is spiritual, not political lessons, that we are to learn. That is why the two periods of crisis, the reigns of Ahab for the North and of Hezekiah for the south, are given at special length.'
Expressed concisely, the theme of the book is that of Israel as the redeemed people of Jehovah, bearing His Name, and the kings as His representatives. Thus a wicked king is a paradox, as well as historically evil, and a good king by righteous acts is setting forth the rule of God. The sin of the people inevitably leads to the captivities, and throughout, political incidents are shown to be the effect of the fidelity or or idolatry of the people. One proof of this is that prophetic activity is prominent in the reigns of wicked kings.