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I Kings Overview

Read Ten Conclusions from Studying Every Prophecy of the Bible.

Refer to Old Testament History Dates!

We come now to the 11th book of the Bible, I Kings.


The United Kingdom under David’s son Solomon               Ch. 1-11

The Divided Kingdom after Solomon’s death                       Ch. 12-22


The United Kingdom under David’s son Solomon               Ch. 1-11

Chapter 1     David’s sons vie for the throne

Adonijah was certain he should be king. He was probably the eldest surviving son after the death of Absalom (I Chronicles 3:1-9)

Who supported Adonijah in his bid to become king?

General Joab and Abiathar the priest

Who supported Solomon becoming king?

Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoida, Nathan the prophet, David’s warriors, Bathsheba

Before chapter one is over Solomon is officially crowned as king and takes his seat on the royal throne, and even Adonijah acknowledges Solomon is king.

Chapter 2     David gives Solomon a “to do” list!

Read 2:1-4

David reminds Solomon to keep the Mosaic law so he’ll be blessed; And he reminds Solomon of the promise God had made him; then he tells him to take care of some “unfinished business,” most notably, volatile general Joab.

Chapters 3-4           The Lord gives Solomon wisdom

This chapter is very interesting. It starts by revealing something that will get Solomon in trouble later on: marrying foreign wives and being led into their idolatrous practices.

Solomon loved the Lord, but hadn’t completely abandoned wrong practices.

Oh, how often that is true of us. Later the apostles will say, “now that you know the Lord, don’t turn back to practices that never really got you anywhere.”

But too often we do. Help us, Lord! Thank you for your forgiveness, Lord!

What does Solomon ask for when God comes to him?

An obedient heart to wisely lead God’s people         verse 7-9

This is a defining moment for Solomon, and because of it we have the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

And chapter three ends by illustrating the kind of wisdom Solomon had, rightly dividing the baby so the real mother would be found out!

Chapter four shows us Solomon’s administrative abilities. Verses 20-21 let us know that these were the glory days for Israel, with Solomon ruling the largest area Israel has ever overseen. Verse 25 says that throughout Solomon’s reign Israel lived in safety from Dan to Beersheba. Why did he say those two places?      

All the way north; all the way south!               Maine to Miami!

Read 4:29-34

This was God’s vision for Israel – A place that would model what it was like if a nation lived for God, and that other nations would come seeking to hear more about YHWH, the God of Israel!                    

Chapters 5-7           Treaty with Hiram helps the Temple and Palace be built

I love the story about Solomon’s peaceful relationship with Hiram of Lebanon. Even today, Lebanon is one of the better countries in the Middle East in its relations with Israel.  

I Kings 6:1 is one of those places that helps us date things in the Bible.

How many years after the Exodus is this?      480 years

Scholars tell us the year is 966/965 B.C. So the Exodus took place 1446/ 1445 B.C.

Chapter 8     Solomon Dedicates the Temple

Okay, here is another key chapter in our survey of the Bible. In the historical books, it is second only to 2 Samuel 7, the giving of the Davidic Covenant.

What are some of the things Solomon prays at the Temple?

There is no God like You! The highest Heaven cannot contain You, but please meet with us here! Hear prayers made here, Lord! Forgive sin here, Lord! Provide justice here, Lord! Restore hope here after defeat, Lord! When people repent and praise you, Lord, send rain to parched land! Answer foreigners prayers here too, Lord! Make foreigners fear you as your people Israel do! Restore us here after our sins lead to captivity, Lord!

Chapter 9     God’s response to Solomon’s Dedication

Read 9:1-9                Sobering words!

Chapter 10   The Queen of Sheba converts

Read 10:1-13                       See Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31

So this was Solomon at his best!          

Chapter 11   Solomon’s unfaithfulness to God brings judgment

What caused Solomon to be unfaithful to God?       Read 11:1-13

Remember that Moses had seen this coming in Deuteronomy 17:14-20!

Chapter 11 tells us about enemies that now rose up against Solomon.

What is happening again in Israel?                   The cycle we saw in the Judges.

Idolatry; weakening of defenses; God removes hand of protection; enemies that could not do harm before suddenly reinvigorated; Israel suffers…

Verse 26 tells us that Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, setting the stage for the last half of the book.

Solomon’s life is another great illustration of the blessings of walking with God and the consequences of sinning against God.

It’s interesting to think of him writing the Proverbs as a younger man fired up for the Lord, and then Ecclesiastes as an older man after returning to the Lord.

The Divided Kingdom after Solomon’s death                                   Ch. 12-22

12:1-24         Rehoboam misses a golden opportunity

The people are prepared to make Rehoboam their king; but they send to Egypt for Jeroboam to be with them when they spoke to Rehoboam.

Who was Jeroboam?       

The one God had promised 10 of the 12 tribes to in chapter 11.

What is their request of Rehoboam?

Lighten the yoke Solomon’s government put on us, and we will serve you! (v. 4)

What do Solomon’s wise elders suggest to Rehoboam?    

Agree to the deal! Serve the people, and they will serve you forever (verse 7)

What do Rehoboam’s young friends suggest to him?

Show ‘em whose boss! Make things even tougher for them than Solomon did!

Rehoboam took his young friends advice, and lost 10 of the 12 tribes that day! They weren’t reunited until 1948. They still await the fuller restoration the Bible says will happen.

There are great consequences to pay when leaders fail to be servant leaders!

Read 12:20-24


Judah and Benjamin were the southern nation, called Judah.

The other tribes are the northern nations, called Israel.

Rehoboam will be the first king of the southern nation.

What tribe is he from?     The Tribe of Judah

Jeroboam will be the first king of the northern nation.

What tribe is he from?     The tribe of Ephraim (See 11:26)

Why is this significant?

Ephraim was descended from Joseph.

So again, you have the unfolding of the tribes of Judah and Joseph overshadowing the other tribes.

Now, what’s really sad about this division of the country into two is that everybody loses.

In the rest of the pages of the Old Testament we never see either country as glorious as it was at the end of David’s days and during Solomon’s hey-day.

Jeroboam and the North break free of Rehoboam’s belligerence, but the spiritual results are disastrous.

Israel will have about 20 kings, and all are bad men and kings. They will rule in Israel from Jeroboam in 933 until Hoshea in 721, and then Assyria will take them off into captivity as judgment for their sins. 

Judah will fare better, but not great. Of the 20 kings they’ll have, only 8 will be good men and kings. Only two will be exceptional! They will rule in Judah from Rehoboam in 933 until Zedekiah in 586, and then Babylon will take them off into captivity as judgment for their sins.

The rest of I and II Kings will go back and forth between the two kingdoms. 

What is the first thing Jeroboam does after becoming king of Israel?

He set up alternative religious venues for his nation so they wouldn’t have to go to Jerusalem. He placed in both places a golden calf.

Had he not read Exodus?! 

One was in Bethel, one was in Dan.

Why those two places?

Dan was in the North; Bethel was in the Southern part of the new nation of Israel, excluding Judah.

Look at 12:33

He offered sacrifices on the altar…in the month…THAT HE HAD DECIDED ON HIS OWN…What Jeroboam had done was flat out idolatry; it was flagrant idolatry!

He set up his own altars, his own festivals, and his own priests…breaking the first two commandments BIG TIME!

Chapter 14   Disaster on both Jeroboam and Rehoboam because of their idolatry

Read 14:1-20

Note how David is the earthly king Jeroboam is compared to (verse 8).

Back in chapter 11 God had promised Jeroboam a “lasting dynasty” if he walked in God’s ways the way David had. He didn’t, and now judgment has come.

Well, I wonder if things were faring better in Judah with Rehoboam.

Read 14:21-31

How sad – the Temple is looted only one generation after Solomon’s reign. Judah has war from Egypt without, and Israel within. Idolatry cost both nations dearly.

15:1-8            Judah’s king Abijam

Read 15:3-5

Verdict on Abijam based on the example David had set: Thumbs down!

What is the Bible telling us in verses 4-5?

That the Davidic covenant is unconditional despite the actions of many descendants of David.

15:9-24         Judah’s King Asa

Was Asa a good king or a bad king?

The first good one mentioned after the division of North and South.

Read 15:11-14

He gets a thumbs up based on following David’s example and doing what’s right in the Lord’s eyes.

Chapter 15 also lets us know that these tiny countries were often having to deal with big bullies in the neighborhood: Egypt to the South, and Assyria to the North.

15:25-31       Israel’s King Nadab

Verse 26 lets us know he was evil just like his dear old dad. Many of these kings illustrate for us the sad legacy idolatry has as it’s passed from one generation to another.

We will read this over and over again about the kings of Israel: they followed the wicked example of Jeroboam. Nadab is assassinated by Baasha, ending the house of Jeroboam. Goodbye house of Jeroboam.

Chapters 17-22       God raises up the prophet Elijah

In many ways Israel during these days of Ahab is back spiritually to the days of the judges. Throughout history many times dark days come.

What we need to know is that God does some of His best work during difficult days. He will tell Elijah during these chapters that there are still 7,000 in Israel who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal.

The great challenge in days of idolatry and compromise is to remember that it is God we serve, not people. It is He whom we will stand before  and give an account to based on what He has called for: not Ahab or popular opinion.

This is part of what we call fear of the Lord.

We see it demonstrated several times in chapter 18: by Obadiah when he protects the 100 prophets from Ahab; we see it when Elijah proclaims the truth to Abab and the prophets of Baal (18:17-39)

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