At the beginning of 1 and 2 Kings, Solomon's reign brought peace, prosperity, dynamic international trade and a magnificent center of worship. At the end, by contrast, the people faced a complete reversal: they and their king were in exile; Jerusalem and the temple lay in ruins.
How can this story of reversal, told by the very people who suffered the defeat, be of value today and equip us "for every good work"?
In this Bible speaks Today volume, John Olley shows how the two books of Kings retell the past as preached history, addressing the exilic situation of the original readers. This in turn helps as we ask how they speak to us today. Within the account of paths leading to short-term success but ultimate failure, there are pointers of hope, of God's continuing purposes and promises, and of the people's response in the present.
In rich and often surprising ways, the narrative in Kings is part of the history that has shaped, and will continue to shape, the faith and life of Christian believers. Everyday life, along with the turmoil of national and global events, is the arena in which God's people are called to worship, trust and obey him, and it is on aspects of this life that 1 and 2 Kings can throw light.
Commentaries and other works
Introducing 1 and 2 Kings
A. Solomon's reign (1 Kings 1-11)
1. Solomon becomes king (1:1–2:46)
2. Setting the scene (3:1-3)
3. Receiving and demonstrating wisdom (3:4–4:34)
4. The Temple—Building and Dedicating (5:1–8:66)
5. After building the temple (9:1–11:43)
B. Division—the first 160 years (1 Kings 12:1–16:28)
6. Leadership: power, pragmatism and God's evaluation (12:1–14:20)
7. Two nations and eight kings: similarities and differences (14:2–16:28)
C. Elijah and kings (1 Kings 16:29–2 Kings 2:25)
8. Elijah confronts crisis (16:29–19:21)
9. Ahab and Prophets—leading to death (20:1–22:40)
10. Ahaziah king of Israel and Elijah (1 Kings 22:51–2 Kings 1:18)
11. Elijah's ascension and transition to Elisha (2:1-25)
D. Elisha and individuals, kings and revolution (2 Kings 3–13)
12. Kings of Israel, Judah and Moab—and Elisha (3:1-26)
13. Elisha: agent of Yahweh's compassion (4:1–6:7)
14. Elisha and Arameans (6:8–8:15)
15. Revolution and Reform in Israel and Judah (8:16–13:25)
E. To the end of Israel (2 Kings 14–17)
16. Kings of Judah and Israel (14–17:6)
17. Understanding change to Israel and in Israel (17:7-41)
F. From trust to exile—to the end of Judah (2 Kings 18–25)
18. Hezekiah and trust (18:1–20:21)
19. Apostasy of Manasseh and Amon (21:1-26)
20. Josiah and whole-hearted turning to God (22:1–23:30)
21. The end comes quickly (23:31–25:26)
22. A Glimmer of Hope in Babylon (25:2-30)
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