The Holy Scriptures

1 Kings 1‑22; 2 Kings 1‑25; 1 Chronicles 1‑29; 2 Chronicles 1‑36  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
1 & 2 Kings
The two books of Kings, like those of Samuel, originally formed a single volume. Beginning with Solomon’s reign of righteousness, peace and glory, they end with Israel in captivity and all in ruin. In the Kings, as with Samuel, we have man in responsibility. Sadly we find that Solomon himself—blessed by Jehovah more than any other in wisdom, glory and riches—sows the seeds for the ruin. “King Solomon loved many strange women.  .  .  .  When Solomon was old  .  .  . his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:1,41But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; (1 Kings 11:1)
4For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. (1 Kings 11:4)
Upon the death of Solomon the kingdom is divided into two. Ten tribes are given into the hand of Jeroboam, a ruler over the house of Joseph (1 Kings 11:2828And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. (1 Kings 11:28)), while Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, is left with just two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. The two kingdoms (to be united again in a future day under Christ the King) are known as Israel (ten tribes) and Judah (two tribes).
Fearing lest the people should return to Jerusalem to sacrifice, Jeroboam established a false religion (1 Kings 12:25-3325Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. 30And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. 31And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 32And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made. 33So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense. (1 Kings 12:25‑33)). Making two golden calves, he placed one in the southern town of Bethel and the other in Dan in the north, declaring, “Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12:2828Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. (1 Kings 12:28)). This counterfeit religion displaced the true, to which Israel never returned (2 Kings 17:2222For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; (2 Kings 17:22)).
From the twelfth chapter of 1 Kings to the first chapter of 2 Kings we have the ministry of the prophet Elijah, while from the second chapter to the thirteenth chapter we have that of Elisha. Miracles (especially reserved for Israel) that had not been seen since the day of Moses were performed. Israel’s apostasy culminates with their being taken captive by the Assyrians in 2 Kings 17. The Assyrians replace the displaced people with men from other lands; these became known as the Samaritans. After the captivity of Israel, the closing days of Judah’s history under the kings is taken up.
Until this time, the books of Kings have been chiefly occupied with the history of Israel. Though there were kings of Judah that “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,” as a nation they failed to heed the warning of Israel’s captivity and forsook the Lord, falling into the same sin of idolatry (Jeremiah 3:88And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. (Jeremiah 3:8)). The book of 2 Kings concludes with the captivity of Judah under the Chaldeans. That which the prophet Hosea forewarned them is fulfilled (Hosea 1:99Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (Hosea 1:9)).
1 & 2 Chronicles
To the natural mind, Chronicles may appear to be a rather incomplete adjunct to the book of Kings. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. We have moved from a historic account of the decline and captivity of Israel and Judah to a new division, a different time and a new subject.
The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles consist of genealogies—particularly important to a Jew returning from captivity (see Ezra 2:5-95The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five. 6The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve. 7The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. 8The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five. 9The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. (Ezra 2:5‑9)). In just one chapter, the tenth, we have Saul’s reign introduced and dismissed. Immediately then the kingdom is established in David. We do not read of David’s sin with Bathsheba or of Absalom’s rebellion, nor are Solomon’s failures recorded.
We don’t read in Chronicles of David buying the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver (2 Sam. 24:2424And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (2 Samuel 24:24)); rather, David gives to Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight (1 Chron. 21:2525So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. (1 Chronicles 21:25)). One is for the threshing floor and the other for the place—not just the treasure now, but the whole field (see Matt. 13:4444Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)). It is not measured in silver—the price of redemption—which is consistent with the book of Samuel. Rather, here it is measured in gold, the inestimable value of Christ’s work at Calvary as seen in the eyes of God.
N. Simon