Introduction to I Kings
Formerly considered the “third book of Kings” after I and II Samuel, this book has carried its present identification since the sixteenth century. It continues the account of David’s life, starting with the rebellion of Adonijah, the coronation of Solomon and the death of David. It continues with the details of Solomon’s reign, featured by the building and dedication of the temple.
The sad fall of Solomon, his death and then the tragedy of the divided kingdom, following the rebellion of Jeroboam against Rehoboam, are recounted in the central chapters of I Kings, with the rest of the book devoted to the conflicts of Judah and Israel with each other and with other nations. Of special significance is the story of the prophet Elijah, in his interchanges with King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. The book continues through the reign of Jehoshaphat in Judah (great grandson of Rehoboam, son of Solomon), and Ahaziah in Israel (the seventh king of Israel following Jeroboam). The total period covered by I Kings is about 126 years, from the accession of Solomon to that of Jehoram.
No one knows who wrote I Kings. Undoubtedly the final editor used various sources with which to compile the inspired record as we now have it. Jewish tradition indicates that the prophet Jeremiah was the man responsible for the final compilation and editing of both I Kings and II Kings. The Jews had considered both Samuel and Kings to be included in the Books of the Prophets (as distinct from the Law and the Psalms), and the Books of Kings are indeed filled with many prophetic insights, so it could well be true that the original records, as well as the final editing, were produced by one or more of the prophets.
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