Jewish tradition tells us that the author was Jeremiah. The author used various historical resources to compile this book (11:41; 14:19,29). The last chapter of 2 Kings was written by someone who lived in Babylon, rather than Egypt, which is where Jeremiah died.
The Biblical Timeline Book by Book:
Genesis…history from Creation through entry into Egypt
Exodus…history from Exodus through Sinai
Leviticus…one year after the Exodus…Laws for living & instructions for the use of the Tabernacle…given during the month & 20 days between the setting up of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:17) and the departure of the people from Sinai (Numbers 10:11).
Numbers…history, starting one month after the close of the book of Exodus and continuing through 39 years of wandering in the wilderness… concluding at the border to the Promised Land (Canaan)
Deuteronomy…the addresses given by Moses during the final months of his life while Israel was camped across from the Promised Land
Joshua…This book begins a new section of the Old Testament…the Historical books. It describes the conquest of the land of Canaan around 1400 B.C.
Judges…The events of Judges take place between 1380 & 1050 B.C. The period of history ends with the last Judge, Samson.
Ruth…The events of this book occurred during the time period of the Judges (the latter half of the twelfth century B.C.) This was a time marked by idolatry and unfaithfulness.
1 Samuel…begins with the life of Samuel (the last of the Judges) and ends with the death of Israel’s first King, Saul (1051-1011 B.C.)…a time frame of about 115 years.
2 Samuel…records the history of King David’s reign (1011-971 B.C.)
1 Kings…covers the time from the reign of Solomon (971-931 B.C.) till the death of Elijah, the reign of Jehoshapat in Judah and Ahaziah in Israel.
2 Kings…picks up where 1 Kings left off…Ahaziah is king over Israel, and Jehoram has become king over Judah. Both countries are eventually conquered and their populations captured and deported. It concludes with Jehoiachin being released in Babylon.
In the Hebrew Bible, 1 & 2 Kings form a single book…and is a continuation of 1 & 2 Samuel. 1 Kings was written while the Temple was standing. 1 & 2 Kings cover a period of about 400 years.
- Kings begins with King David and ends with the King of Babylon
- Kings opens with the building of the Temple and closes with its destruction
- Kings starts with David’s first successor (Solomon) and ends with his last successor (Jehoiachin-being released from captivity in Babylon)
David is about 70-years-old at the beginning of 1 Kings…Solomon is 19-years-old. Because of David’s poor health and Adonijah’s (his older brother) attempt to take the throne, Solomon was crowned as king while David was still alive. Saul, David, and Solomon reigned 40 years each. Solomon’s life can be characterized as “splendor without surrender” (What the Bible is All About, Henrietta C. Mears, p. 136)…1 Kings 11:4. He expanded the size of the kingdom to about 60,00 square miles…10 times that of David. He wrote the books in the Bible of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
A Summary of Solomon’s Life
- His rearing was under the religious and wise Nathan who gave him the pet name, Jedidiah, “the Lord’s darling” (2 Samuel 12:25)
- His kingship was clear (1 Kings 1:46)
- His charge from his father was full of promise (1 Kings 2:1-9)
- His choice of wisdom from God was a divine choice (1 Kings 3)
- His cabinet was greater than any other king Israel (1 Kings 4)
- His lifework was the building of the Temple
- The kingdom he established was that outlined by Joshua (Joshua 1:4)
- His wealth and glory took the breath away from the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:5)
- He was a handsome man (Psalm 45)
- He was an affectionate man (Song of Solomon)
- He dealt cruelly with his brother Adonijah…unlike his father (1 Kings 2:24-25)
- His heart became full of pride (1 Kings 10:18-29)
- He fell into adultery because of his heathen wives (1 Kings 11)
(What the Bible is All About, Henrietta C. Mears, pp. 137-138)
- He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Ki. 11:3).
- He had fantastic quantities of gold.
- from Hiram he acquired three and a half million (9:14)
- from his navy, 420 talents of gold (9:27, 28)
- from the Queen of Sheba, three and a half million (10:10)
- from yearly taxes and revenue, upwards of 20 million (10:14)
- He owned 40,000 horses (4:26).
- He owned 1400 chariots, each costing $400 apiece (10:26).
- He commanded 12,000 cavalrymen (10:26).
- He owned an extensive fleet of ships (1 Ki. 9:26-28; 10:22; 2 Chronicles 8:17, 18).
- He built a huge ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold. It had six steps and a rounded back with arm rests. It was surrounded by twelve lions, with two resting on each step (10:18-20).
- He constructed an iron-smelting industry at Ezion-Geber (1 Ki. 9:17).
- jurisprudence (3:28)
- administration (4:29; 5:12)
- poetry (4:32)
- natural science (4:33)
- architecture and engineering (5:1-7; 9:15-22)
- commercial enterprise (9:26-10:29)
- philosophy (Eccles. 2:3)
- horticulture (Eccles. 2:5)
Approximately 4½ centuries before Solomon, God had given instructions for how a king was to rule and what he was not to do in Deuteronomy 17:14-17. Solomon disobeyed God instructions in all three areas.
- He had much gold and silver (10:14-27)
- He owned thousands of horses (4:26)
- He gathered hundreds of wives and concubines (11:3)
(Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible, Dr. H.L. Wilmington, pp. 114, 115)
The success of any king will be in direct measure to his relationship to God.
1 Kings 1-2
The United Kingdom under Solomon 1 Kings 1-11
1 Kings 1-2 Solomon’s Coronation
1 Kings 1:1-4-David was old (about 70-years-old, cf. 2 Samuel 5:4) and could not keep warm so they brought a young virgin (Abishag the Shunammite) to sleep with him...but they did not have sexual relations (:4).
1 Kings 1:5-53-Adonijah, (David's oldest son, born to Haggith, cf. 2 Samuel 3:2-4; 13:28; 18:14) tried to make himself king. He was handsome and David had never questioned his behavior or disciplined him. He convinced Joab and Abiathar the priest to help him. He held a gathering of his supporters at “the stone of Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel”.
A large rock near the well En-rogel, in the valley adjoining Jerusalem on the south-east, where the adherents of Adonijah assembled in rebellion, 1 Kings 1:9.
Smith’s Bible Dictionary, http://biblehub.com/topical/z/zoheleth.htm
Zoheleth projects into or slightly over-hangs the Kidron valley. It is now called ez-Zehwell or Zahweileh.
Eaton’s Bible Dictionary, http://biblehub.com/topical/z/zoheleth.htm
Nathan told Bathsheba what was happening and that she should go to David and tell him. David quickly had Solomon anointed as king. He had Solomon then ride in on his own mule. This was a sign that David had personally chosen him to succeed him. Gihon was in the upper part of the Kidron Valley. When Solomon arrived the people began to shout and rejoice. It was close enough that Adonijah and those with him could hear the noise. They asked what it was about and when he was told, he became afraid and went to the Tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar. This was a claim or appeal for protection. However, it was not automatically guaranteed (cf. Exodus 21:14; 1 Kings 2:28-34). But Solomon grants it…based on Adonijah’s pledge of dedication to him.
1 Kings 2:1-9-David gives Solomon his final words of instruction...to follow the Lord. He then reminds him of Joab's murder of the two generals, Abner and Amasa, in times of peace ( 2 Samuel 3:27; 20:10) and instructs him, "do not let his gray hair go down to Sheol in peace" (:6). He also tells him how others had treated him good or bad and instructs Solomon to treat them appropriately.
1 Kings 2:10-12-David dies...and Solomon takes his place as King.
1 Kings 2:13-25-This was a scheme by Adonijah to become king. The woman that he requested be given to him as a wife was part of David’s harem and thus an inheritor (1 Samuel 1:3-4). He was trying to establish himself as a contender to the throne both as the oldest son and as an inheritor through marriage. Solomon saw through this attempt. He knew that Adonijah’s pledge to allegiance meant nothing. He had him put to death for trying to take the throne away from him through deceit.
1 Kings 2:26-46-Solomon makes changes to leadership within the kingdom. In doing so, he fulfilled the instructions that David had given him. Abiathar had been a part of the attempt by Adonijah to take the throne from Solomon. He was spared execution because earlier, when Absalom had rebelled against David, he had been faithful to David (2 Samuel 15:24ff). However, because of his rebellion against Solomon, he was dismissed as a priest and banished to live in his hometown for the rest of his life (Joshua 21:18; Jeremiah 1:1). Abiathar was a descendent of Eli. So, this action also fulfilled the word that God had spoken to Eli the priest when his sons disrespected their roles as priests. God had told Eli that the priesthood would be taken from his family and given to another (1 Samuel 2:30-35). When Joab heard the news about Abiathar…he knew that he was next because he had rebelled with Adonijah, as well. So, he ran to the Tabernacle and grabbed hold of the horns on its corner. This is what Adonijah had done, earlier, and perhaps he hoped that it would work for him, as well (1:50). Solomon did not accept this attempt and sent Benaiah to kill him. This was to fulfill what David had told him to do (2:5-6). Solomon told Shimei that he was going to be allowed to live, but that he could never leave the city of Jerusalem. If he did, he would be killed. This was his punishment for cursing David when he was fleeing from Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-8). By limiting him to Jerusalem it kept him from ever returning to his home on the other side of the Jordan River and it allowed Solomon to keep a close eye on him. Eventually, he left the city and was caught and punished. This completed David’s instructions to Solomon concerning him (2:8-9). Solomon made Benaiah the head of the army and Zadok the priest.
Prayer: Lord, David and Solomon both exhibited wonderful qualities. David was a man after Your own heart and Solomon was a man of godly wisdom. I pray that You would give me these two qualities. Let my heart, my desires and passions…be the same as Yours. And please give me wisdom and discernment so that I may live a life that is pleasing to You.