1 & 2 Kings

series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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1 and 2 Kings is the second volume in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and follows Jaroslav Pelikan's volume on Acts. It is the first Old Testament commentary in the series. This volume, like each in the series, is designed to serve the church--through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth--and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.

The general editor for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is R. R. Reno (editor, First Things). Series editors include Robert W. Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry); Robert Louis Wilken (University of Virginia); Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto); Michael Root (Catholic University of America); and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas).

Volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

R. R. Reno (editor, First Things) on Genesis Thomas Joseph White (Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome) on Exodus Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Leviticus David L. Stubbs (Western Theological Seminary) on Numbers Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy Paul Hinlicky (Roanoke College) on Joshua Laura A. Smit (Calvin University) and Stephen Fowl (Loyola University Maryland) on Judges & Ruth Francesca Aran Murphy (University of Notre Dame) on 1 Samuel Robert Barron (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles) on 2 Samuel Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Kings Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Chronicles Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary) on Ezra & Nehemiah Samuel Wells (St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, London) and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas) on Esther & Daniel Ellen T. Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Psalms 1–50 Jason Byassee (Vancouver School of Theology) on Psalms 101–150 Daniel J. Treier (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Proverbs & Ecclesiastes Paul J. Griffiths on Song of Songs Robert W. Jenson (1930–2017; Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel Phillip Cary (Eastern University) on Jonah Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) on Matthew David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke Jaroslav Pelikan (1923–2006; Yale University) on Acts Kimlyn J. Bender (Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University) on 1 Corinthians Kathryn Greene-McCreight (The Episcopal Church at Yale) on Galatians Michael Allen (Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) on Ephesians George Hunsinger (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Philippians Christopher R. Seitz (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Colossians Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians Risto Saarinen (University of Helsinki) on the Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude Douglas Harink (The King’s University College) on 1 & 2 Peter Joseph L. Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Revelation


Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible:

"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."--Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

"This new series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. It may be that scripture interpretation is too important to be left to the exegetes, and so a return to the theologians. We will wait with great anticipation for this new series, at least aware that the outcomes of interpretation are largely determined by the questions asked. It is never too late to ask better questions; with a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators. Brazos has enormous promises to keep with this project, and we wait with eagerness for its appearing!"--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."--Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, is, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."--Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"Contemporary application of the Bible to life is the preacher's business. But no worthy contemporary application is possible without a thorough understanding of the ancient text. The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary offers just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."--Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

"For pastors, wanting to get at the theological heart of a text, there is some good stuff. When I am preaching, I usually try to take a peek at the Brazos volume."--Nijay K. Gupta, assistant professor of New Testament, Northeastern Seminary, Roberts Wesleyan College

The Author

  1. Peter J. Leithart

    Peter J. Leithart

    Peter J. Leithart (PhD, University of Cambridge), a former pastor, is president of Theopolis Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, and a teacher at Trinity Presbyterian Church. He is the author of numerous books, including The End of Protestantism?,...

    Continue reading about Peter J. Leithart


"Leithart has done an admirable job. . . . While the brevity of his comments has forced him to remain succinct, the profundity of his theological observations does not suffer. . . . Leithart presents a reading that avoids the pitfalls of critical methodologies. For one who reads about and teaches the Old Testament for a living, the book at hand offers a refreshing read. . . . [Leithart's] ability to make significant observations about parallels within the book of Kings and the Old Testament enhances his discussion about parallels with the New Testament. . . . He is particularly adept at recognizing parallels, wordplays, and literary devices that bring out the meaning of the text. . . . Leithart's theological conclusions about the book of Kings are diverse and interesting. He demonstrates a breadth of reading and knowledge of theological matters and brings that knowledge to bear upon the book of Kings. . . . For the biblical scholar, this volume is a fitting reminder that the text should be read holistically and theologically. . . . The book causes the reader to think profoundly about the ultimate message(s) of the text. For the pastor, Leithart's commentary will provide a succinct summary of each chapter or section that is most helpful in preaching through the book. For the theologian, Leithart has shown how even the book of Kings makes weighty theological statements based upon a text-imminent, Christian reading of the book. Moreover, for all, it is a delightful read."--Randall L. McKinion, Review of Biblical Literature

"Commentaries written by theologians, though plentiful in the history of Christianity, are at present rare, making Peter Leithart's recent work on 1-2 Kings distinctively refreshing. . . . In an easily accessible style, Leithart interweaves an entertaining rehearsal of the biblical story while expanding on themes that relate to Christian theology and practice. . . . Both content and structure contribute to the value of the commentary for sermon-preparation and lay use. Chief among the distinguishing features of Leithart's work is the way he travels from the text to multiple disciplines that benefit from the narrative theology described therein. The breadth of his expertise is displayed in his interaction with political theory; metaphysics; historical theology; anthropology; sociology; literary criticism; and philosophy from ancient to postmodern times. . . . [Leithart's] aspiration of bringing the OT to the church as an ongoing source of revelation is refreshing. In a discipline felt by many to have become increasingly distant from the church, theology, and even exegesis, biblical studies is in need of 'reform.' Like Elijah, Leithart is attempting to address the problem from within, rather than casting aspersions from a distance. For this, as well as for his engaging style and challenging observations, his contribution is welcome."--Amber Warhurst, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"The [Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible] seeks to rescue the Bible from the hypercritical and hyperspecialized world of contemporary Biblical studies, at least as it is practiced in the academy. Its ecumenical lineup includes Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox contributors. . . . The refreshing result is a respect for the tradition of the church in an age when exegesis often competes with or denigrates theology. Leithart's contribution will be especially welcome . . . for its sensitivity to redemptive history. . . . Leithart's careful treatment of typology in the narratives of Israel's kings lives up to the high standard that he has established."--John Muether, Ordained Servant

"Leithart will certainly provide you with food for thought. . . . You will encounter useful ideas to provoke you in your sermon prep. This intriguing new series will incorporate contributions from a broad spectrum of theological traditions. You will want to keep your eye on the Brazos commentaries."--Semper Reformanda

"This commentary series offers us the hope and promise of Christian theologians (all of them men and women of the church) joining their scholarship with their faith in a way that brings back the ancient, venerable tradition of theologians engaging the text of canonical Scripture. . . . Leithart is fully conversant with modern Biblical scholarship, even if he is not as concerned to recount it. He does, however, make good use of rhetorical criticism--how the structure and form of the text itself work to make its point. . . . Leithart's commentary is a refreshing read and eminently usable by the preacher who, in preaching the Old Testament, wants to point out that the person and work of Jesus Christ are already present in the Old Testament, if in a discreet and hidden way. . . . Leithart has given the Brazos Theological Commentary series a high standard to match. If those whose works are to follow can give us similar quality, then this series will prove to be an invaluable tool to the preacher and teacher."--Walter Taylor, Layman

"[This] series aims to produce a new corpus of theological commentary on scripture. If the other volumes in this series compare favorably with Leithart's work on Kings, they will have produced a stellar achievement indeed! . . . [Leithart] provides models and case studies . . . throughout his commentary that should prove useful to the constructive end of reading the bible with narrative and confessional integrity. . . . Many readers will find it intriguing to learn how Leithart sees the text of Kings as they interact with Luther, Calvin, and the Protestant Reformation at many points. . . . [The work is] ideally suited as a companion text for the preacher or Bible teacher working through these books systematically. . . . The reading involved is not overly technical so that it could be of use to serious church members as well as Hebraists. Given the lack of systematic Old Testament teaching in the church, hopefully Leithart's work will inspire many to grapple with these books instead of skimming through them in the future. Leithart's style is warm hearted and devotional; this work could even be used by the pastor wanting to challenge, inform, and feed his own soul . . . not just as grist for the sermon mill."--Chuck Huckaby, biblestorytelling.blogspot.com

"[Leithart's] introduction '1-2 Kings as Gospel' is well worth reading and will be a great help in preparing to preach through these books which are not often chosen for expository series. This commentary will be a great supplement to other tools when preaching in 1-2 Kings."--Preaching

"With a PhD from Cambridge and extensive pastoral experience at Trinity Reformed Church in Idaho, Leithart made me feel like I was enjoying the best of academic scholarship, linguistic analysis, literary insights, historical reflections, and thoughtful applications to contemporary Christian discipleship. 1 & 2 Kings begins with Solomon's ascension to power and ends with Judah's banishment to Babylon, which means that Leithart makes a panoramic sweep of roughly 400 years of salvation history in Israel."--Daniel B. Clendenin, journeywithjesus.net

"The [Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible] bills itself correctly as a different kind of commentary. . . . This work should prove helpful for Christian preachers as they think about the theological possibilities within the text."--Tyler Mayfield, Religious Studies Review

"Leithart does an eminently satisfying work of exposition, although his work engages age-old questions of exegetical method. . . . His bibliography reflects his engagement with biblical and theological scholarship spanning the pre-, modern, and postmodern eras. . . . Theologically rich discussions are threaded throughout the commentary. . . . This reviewer found Leithart's work stimulating in its unabashedly theological interpretive stance. Such a starting point for the exegetical task inquires differently of the text and renders fresh applications and observations. The two disciplines of biblical and theological studies can only benefit from cross-disciplinary engagement and, certainly, Leithart demonstrates that both disciplines can be used critically and in service of the Church."--Lissa M. Wray Beal, Toronto Journal of Theology

"This book is a welcome addition to the body of commentary literature that expounds the book of Kings for the reader who wishes to see how its 'theology' is truly connected to the fuller mosaic of biblical revelation and the 'rule of truth' that Irenaeus articulated in his context in the early Christian church. . . . [Leithart's] content and writing style are both engaging and stimulating. Preachers will learn a great deal about the literary artistry of Kings and will likely pick up many suggestive sermonic and teaching points in this work. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography as well as a subject index and Scripture index, all of which is helpful for further reading on the many points Leithart touches on."--Mark D. Vander Hart, Mid-America Journal of Theology

"[Leithart] focuses on the literary elements of the text. . . . Several of his insights are helpful and make his commentary worth consulting for a theologically conservative literary take on 1 and 2 Kings, especially one sensitive to implications for political theology. . . . The [Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible] offers a scholarly defense for figural reading of the Bible. This series provides permission to combine the findings of biblical criticism with the theological riches of the Spirit-led church while maintaining intellectual integrity. One hopes the series will enrich and expand this synergy."--Stephen J. Lennox, Books & Culture

"This commentary is both fascinating and very easy to read. One need not entirely share Leithart's Reformed perspective to get a great deal out of it. It is highly recommended as a resource for pastors and laypersons alike."--Jack Kilcrease, Logia

"Required reading for anyone wishing to understand the theological underpinnings of 1st and 2nd Kings. . . . Its greatest strength is its Christological interpretations. . . . Leithart's excursions into theology, Church history, literature, typology, and even some current trends within the Church today provide guidance for those who struggle with how to preach or teach these sometimes difficult texts. While the Brazos Theological Commentary Series is ecumenical in its intention, its editors do not force contributors to hide their theological convictions to the point there the volumes in the series have no substance, which is commendable on their part. Leithart's commentary is written unabashedly from a Reformed perspective, discussing doctrinal disagreements with Roman Catholicism in a friendly tone that seeks genuine reconciliation between the two camps."--SirReadaLot