Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


15. First Kings: The Glory of Solomon and the Beginning of the End

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Discuss the question of the authorship of Kings
  • Analyze the methods used by the author of 1 Kings
  • Discuss the regnal formula in 1 Kings
  • Outline the content of 1 Kings
  • List the kings of the divided kingdom
  • Trace how the office of prophet developed

Chapter Summary

  1. In the books of Kings, we find perhaps the earliest genuine historiography in world literature.
  2. The theology of retribution is the main topic of the book of 1 Kings.
  3. The method used to write the book of 1 Kings is regnal formula, in which every king is evaluated in terms of his faithfulness to the covenant and his willingness to follow the example of King David.
  4. The sources used by the author to write 1 Kings are all annals from the royal archives—annals of the kings of Israel, annals of the kings of Judah, and annals of Solomon.
  5. The major topics used to organize Kings are the history of King Solomon, the history of the divided kingdom, and the history of the final years of Judah.
  6. The great political and military accomplishments of Solomon are overshadowed by his unfaithfulness to the covenant.
  7. When God first appeared to Solomon, Solomon requested wisdom, and that pleased God because Solomon did not request riches or a long life or victory over enemies.
  8. Solomon’s great wisdom is illustrative of how he solved legal disputes, how he administered the nation, and how his building program was conducted.
  9. Through the influence of his foreign wives, Solomon compromised and added the worship of other gods to monotheism.
  10. Solomon’s empire was divided into two smaller kingdoms—Israel in the north and Judah in the south.
  11. Prophets were introduced in 1 Kings when Elijah became God’s spokesman to warn the nations.

Study Questions

  1. How much time is covered by 1–2 Kings?
  2. What is the overall theme of this work?
  3. Discuss the authorship of Kings.
  4. What is the overarching concern of this historical work?
  5. Define retribution theology.
  6. What is the regnal formula?
  7. From what historical perspective does the author of Kings write?
  8. From a biblical standpoint, why is the reign of Solomon seen as a tragic event?
  9. What important biblical office began to emerge during the time of 1 Kings?
  10. Contrast and compare the office of the professional prophets with those of the true prophets. How do these forms of prophecy relate to 1 Kings?