1 Kings Overview part 1

 

Tonight we are going to get back to OT study as we will begin looking at 1 Kings. First thing I want to point out is that1 and 2 Kings were originally one book. Both of these combined covers a time period of about 400 years somewhere around 1000 Ė 6000 B.C. 1 Kings starts with the glory and strength of the Jewish kingdom and 2 Kings ends with the ruin of that kingdom.

 

The key words to this book are glory and division.

 

There are several key verses worthy to note:

 

Note Davidís wise advice to his son in 1 Kings 2:2"I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.3 "And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn;4 "that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'

 

Another key verse is when Solomon asked God for wisdom instead of anything else.

 

1 Kings 3:9 "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"10 The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.

 

Another key verse shows Godís promise to Solomon

 

1 Kings 9:4 "Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,5 "then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, 'You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'6 "But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them,7 "then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

 

One last key verse is of Godís reproof of Solomonís apostasy:

 

1 Kings 11:11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.12 "Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.

 

Author: is unknown but the Jewish history claims it to be Jeremiah while some scholars even point to Ezra as a possibility. There are some books in the Bible where the author is not named but we can know that the true author of them all is God. 1 Kings is quoted or referred to in several NT passages which show that it was considered to be part of Godís Word. Lets look a few of them.

 

Matthew 12:42 "The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

 

Here Jesus makes a reference to the queen of Sheba and how she went to hear Solomonís wisdom as found 1 Kings 10. Next Jesus again confirms 2 different stories in the book of 1 and 2 Kings when he was talking to the people in his hometown:

 

Luke 4:25 "But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;26 "but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, (zar-eh-fath) in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.27 "And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."

 

This confirms several things,

 

1. Elijah was a prophet just a 1 Kings says he was

2. That he caused a drought for 3 Ĺ years by the powerof God

3. It collaborates the story of the widow found 1 Kings 17

4. It collaborates the story of Naaman and his cleansing of leprosy in 2 Kings 5

 

Finally Paul quotes from 1 Kings 19

 

Romans 11:2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"?4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

 

The key chapter is chapter 12 because this marks critical turning point in Jewish history when the kingdom become divided. From the time of Saul to the end of the reign of Solomon the Kingdom had been united for 120 years. 40 years under Saul, 40 years under David and 40 years under Solomon. Now when Rehoboam took over as king he refused to listen to the advice of the older men of lifting the burden of his father off the people instead his message was this,

 

1 Kings 12:14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!" 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the LORD, that He might fulfill His word, which the LORD had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

 

As you can see this was inaccordance with Godís plan and through his providence His promise would come to pass that Solomonís kingdom would be stripped and that exactly what happened. Because of Rehoboamís actions 10 of the tribes of Israel split away from him and started their own kingdom under Jeroboam known as the northern kingdom. Judah and the Benjamites made up the southern kingdom. Not only did the Northern kingdom remove itself from the southern one it also removed itself from God as they began to worship Golden calves and idols.

 

We learn from 1 and 2 Kings that there were 20 kings that serve in the Northern Kingdom and every one of them were bad in the site of God. The Northern kingdom lasted about 200 years before it was destroyed by Assyria around 721 B.C. These 10 tribes of Israel disappear from history and never become a kingdom again.

 

We also learn that the Southern Kingdom also had 20 Kings and some of them were really good while some were bad. Their kingdom lasted for about 300 years before the Babylonians defeated them around 600 B.C.

 

1 Kings can be divided up into 2 main sections. 1. The reign or Solomon 1 Ė 11 2. The history the divided kingdom 12 Ė 22. The purpose of this book is two fold. 1. It shows how God tried to move the Jews to repentance by reminding them of his promise that he would restore them if they would truly repent. 2. The book shows God providence in preserving his promise to Abraham in Gen. 22:18 through the seed of David. Even when Solomon failed to keep Godís commandments He did not completely allow the kingdom to be destroyed as stated in,

 

1 Kings 11:13 "However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen."

 

And also notice verse,

 

1 Kings 11:39 'And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.' "

 

Overall God protected the blood line of Christ and the spiritual significance of this promised seed is confirmed for us in,

 

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.

 

Now lets do a quick overview of the book itself

 

1-2. We learn about Solomon becoming king by the choice of David on his death bed. Not Solomon was the son of Bathsheba who by all rights David had no right to. Now Adonijah David 4th son apparently would have been the next in line to be king and he tried to make it happen but he fails.

 

3. This is where Solomon prays for wisdom and because he prayed so wisely God blesses him with every thing else.

 

4. Dwells on Solomonís prosperity, wealth and wisdom. Solomon was living in what many golden era of the Jews because everything was going very well and everything was peaceful. Solomon was famous for his business practice in trade and he was famous for his writings. He wrote the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and song of Solomon. He also wrote Psalm 72 and possibly Psalm 127.

 

1 Kings 4:32 He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.33 Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.34 And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

 

5-8 Deal with Solomonís Construction. He built structures such as the House of the forest of Lebanon, the hall of Pillars, a hall for his thrown, a house for the daughters of Pharaoh just to name a few. We learn that he it took him 13 years to build his own house. But, his greatest accomplishment was building the temple for God. It took him 7 years, 185,000 workers and millions of dollars worth of Gold, ivory and other materials to complete it. Even though this was a grand structure Solomon himself understood that God could not be housed in such a place.

 

1 Kings 8:26 "And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David my father.27 "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!28 "Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today:29 "that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, 'My name shall be there,' that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place.

 

9-10 are expansion of chapter 4. Solomon devoted himself to commerce and public works. He made a deal with the king of Tyre, to use his navy on the Mediterranean. He also had a Navy at Ezion-geber, (ee-zih-on-ghee-bur) and he controlled the trade route South through Edom to the coasts of Arabia, India and Africa and this was accomplished through peaceful commerce.

 

11. We learn about the downfall of Solomon glorious reign and that was the 700 wives and the 300 concubines that he had. Now he married these women to expand his kingdom but many of these women were idolaters and this began to influence this once wise man of God and he fell away from God in the end which led to division of the kingdom.

 

12 Ė 22 deal with the divided kingdom and their various kings. Also 17 Ė 2 Kings 2 talk about Elijah the prophet. This is basic overview of the book of 1 Kings.

 

Now I want to show you on the map how the kingdom expanded from Saul to Solomon. Show map and show the differences.

 

Also I want you to notice this map of the divided kingdom.

 

There are several lessons that we can learn from this book that applies to us today.

1. We can see that God is pleased when we choose to ask for wisdom and to use His word as our guide.

2. It shows us the importance of prayer and servitude toward God.

3. It shows us that God is always watching and nothing escapes him as David says in,

 

Psalm 139:1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

 

4. We learn that even the wisest of men can allow power and wealth to corrupt them.

 

These are just a few of the lessons that we can take to heart and we will learn even more as we take a more detailed look at this book in the coming weeks.