The Books of Kings in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Title. In the Septuagint the books are called "the third and fourth of the Kingdoms," in Vulgate "the third and fourth book of Kings." Originally the two were one: Bomberg in his printed editions, 1518,1549, divided them into two. Three periods are included. The first (1 Kings 1-11), 1015-975 B.C., Solomon's ascent of the throne, wisdom, consolidation of his power, erection of the temple, 40 years' reigning over the undivided twelve tribes; the time of Israel's glory, except that toward the close of his reign his polygamy and idolatry caused a decline, and God threatened the disruption of the kingdom (1 Kings 11). The second period, from the division into two kingdoms to the Assyrian captivity of the ten northern tribes, 975-722 B.C. The third period, from thence, in Hezekiah's reign, until Judah's captivity in Babylon, 722-560 B.C., down to the 37th year of Jehoiachin's exile and imprisonment. The second period (1Ki 12:1-2 Kings 10) comprises three stages: (1) the enmity at first between Judah and Israel from Jeroboam to Omri, 1 Kings 12:1-16:28; (2) the intermarriage between the royal houses of Israel and of Judah, under Ahab, down to the destruction of both kings, Joram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah, by Jehu, 1Ki 16:29-2 Kings 10; (3) the renewal of hostilities, from Jehu's accession in Israel and Athaliah's usurpation in Judah to Israel's captivity in Hezekiah's sixth year, 1 Kings 11-17. The book is not a mere chronicle of kings' deeds and fortunes, but of their reigns in their spiritual relation to Jehovah the true, though invisible, King of the theocracy; hence it is ranked in the canon among "the prophets." The prophets therefore as His ministers, guardians of His rights, and interpreters of His counsel and will, come prominently forward in the book to maintain His prerogative before the kings His viceroys, and to counsel, warn, and punish as He who spoke in them deemed necessary, confirming their word by miraculous signs. Thus, Samuel by His direction anointed Saul and David to reign over His people; Nathan announced God's promise that David's throne and seed should be forever (2 Samuel 7); then when he sinned Nathan remounted his punishment, and upon his repentance immediate forgiveness (2 Samuel 12); similarly, Gad (2 Samuel 24). Nathan announced Solomon's appointment as successor (2 Samuel 12:25; 1 Chronicles 22:9); anointed and installed him instead of Adonijah, the older brother (1 Kings 1). Thenceforth, David's seed having been established in Judah in conformity with God's promise (2 Samuel 7), the prophets' agency in Judah was restricted to critical times and special cases requiring the expression of Jehovah's will in the way of either reproof of declension or encouragement of faithfulness. But in Israel their agency was more continuous and prominent, because of the absence of Jehovah's ordinary ministers the priests and Levites, and because of the state idolatry of the calves, to which Ahab added Baal worship. Jehovah appeared to Solomon at Gibeon shortly after his accession, again...

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