New Defender's Study Bible Notes
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.
1:1 stricken in years. David was about seventy years old (II Samuel 5:4), and his long years of exile and fighting had taken a toll on his physical body.
1:5 Adonijah. Adonijah was the fourth son of David, but both Amnon and Absalom were dead. Nothing is known of Chileab, his second son. Adonijah evidently thought he should succeed his father, even though both David and God Himself had chosen Solomon, the son of David’s favorite wife, Bathsheba, as the next king (I Chronicles 22:9,10; I Kings 1:13).
1:7 Abiathar the priest. Joab had been David’s Commander-in-chief and Abiathar was high priest, so Adonijah had some influential allies to support him in his attempt to take over the rule of Israel.
1:12 save thine own life. If Adonijah were really to become king, he would almost certainly have had Solomon and his mother executed, as well as any other potential claimants to the throne. He knew of David’s promise to Solomon and Bathsheba, and thus did not invite them to his planned inaugural banquet, knowing they would vehemently protest.
1:50 horns of the altar. It had evidently become the practice of those who had committed crimes, especially if they were unintentional, to flee to the tabernacle (like a city of refuge), and hold on to the horns on the altar (note Exodus 21:12-14). First Adonijah and soon Joab (I Kings 2:28-34) would seek to escape punishment for this treasonous conspiracy by this action.
1:53 Go to thine house. Even though Adonijah’s treason was a capital crime, Solomon granted clemency, probably out of concern for David, who had already lost two sons.