Yo, Relentless Students! I hope you are all doing well and keeping active during this time. As we continue our trek through the Bible you'll see some reoccurring stories in Kings and Chronicles. The reason is that King was written in order for the people of Israel to better understand why they were in exile. You see their focus is on the failing of their good kings and the evil of the terrible kings. Whereas when we enter Chronicles, the writer is post-exile, meaning the people have seen God faithfully bring them through the exile and then write the histories focused on the positives of the kings, instead of the negatives. Some will say this is contradicting, but in all reality, this adds to the argument of validity. Everything listed about the attributes of the kings in both books is right, they just differ in perspective. So, with that disclaimer, here we go.
As we enter 1 Kings we see the death of David and the rise to power of his heir Solomon. His reign is marked by his wisdom. Solomon asked for one thing from God and that was wisdom. During his time as king, Solomon acquired many wives and knowledge of all the different religions, ways of worship, etc. that he could. His quest never seemed to end, but we will talk more about this as we go through Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. At his passing, his eldest son rises to power, only to be a terrible king. This causes a split within the kingdom creating the northern and southern kingdoms. You see, David had dealt with a possible split during his reign, but was able to keep in power over all the people. So, the idea of splitting the kingdom wasn't new but hadn't been enacted up to this point. This leads us into the stories of the kings of Israel (the 10 tribes in the north) and Judah (the 2 tribes in the south). Both nations had good kings and wicked kings. The rest of 1 Kings is mostly marked by the evil kings, with few exceptions.
During the reign of these kings, we see prophets rise up to give the word of the Lord. Those that speak out against the kings were dealt consequences and we see this in the life of Elijah who was persecuted by king Ahab and his wife Jezebel. All the prophets of God were persecuted at this time because the nation had turned to Baal, a god of worshipped during this time period. Elijah is then lead to show the people the power of God vs. the power of Baal. This is the famous scene found in 1 Kings 18:20-40. Once Elijah showed the people the power of God he had the prophets of Baal captured and slaughtered. This is what inspired Jezebel to make a death threat to Elijah, promising to murder him. Elijah ran. During his persecution God protected him, but there was even a time when Elijah was ready to die from the anguish felt as he was being chased.
As we near the end of 1 Kings we see the cycle continue. There is repentance, but wickedness again enters the people. Israel and Judah continue to be lead astray by their kings, almost as if God was right not to place a king over them in the first place...
Now, when we read this book we are meant to question the role of a king in ancient Israel. The people writing this book are in exile due to the questionable leadership and due punishment. They were angry and reflecting on what brought them to their current standing. Regardless, there is a lot to learn here about the history of the people and how different kings ruled the tribes. There are also plenty lessons in the "what not to do" depart of our faith. When reading books like Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles one of the biggest blessings is being able to look back and see even more the need for a savior and becoming more thankful for His blood so that we don't have the punishments, the curses, etc.
For more info on 1 Kings check out this video: