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Best Resources on
1 Kings

First Kings testifies to Yahweh’s presence among Israel but also shows just how far a nation can fall when Yahweh is ignored. First Kings begins at the end of David’s reign, as his sons Adonijah and Solomon compete for the throne. Solomon is selected, and he builds a temple for Yahweh. But after Solomon, the once-prosperous nation splits into two kingdoms. Most of the kings on both sides fail to follow Yahweh and allow idolatry to flourish. Meanwhile, prophets, most notably Elijah, boldly call unfaithful kings to account.

Faithlife Study Bible, Lexham Press

Best Commentaries on 1 Kings

Paul R. House, New American Commentary (NAC), B&H, 1995, 410 pp.

Few biblical books are as neglected by the Church as 1 & 2 Kings. There are several reasons for this situation. First, some preachers find it difficult to construct sermons from Old Testament texts. Also, misconceptions about Old Testament history exist, like its supposedly boring and has a nontheological nature. This causes laypersons to question the books' value for devotional readings. Also commentaries on these books often explain chronological and compositional matters without exploring the books' theological and literary richness. These barriers are overcome with this commentary.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Iain W. Provan, Understanding the Bible (UtB), Baker, 2012, 320 pp.

In contrast to literary and historical skepticism about the accounts of Israel and Judah in the divided kingdom, Provan examines 1 & 2 Kings as a unified and historical narrative. He helps the reader see that these books provide insight into the kings and prophets—and teach about God and his ways.

  • Level: Basic
  • Type: Expository
Donald J. Wiseman, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), InterVarsity Press, 1993, 339 pp.Iain W. Provan, Understanding the Bible (UtB), Baker, 2012, 320 pp.

The book of Kings is a unique source for understanding the history of Israel from the last days of the united kingdom under David to the eventual fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Presenting Israel's national history from a divine viewpoint, these narratives measure the kings of Israel and Judah not by the mark they leave on secular history but by their "doing what is right in the Lord's sight." Embedded in this story are enduring lessons of the ways of God with his people in every age.

  • Level: Basic
  • Type: Devotional

Peter J. Leithart, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Baker, 2006, 304 pp.

Leading theologian Peter J. Leithart interprets 1 & 2 Kings for today’s Church in this commentary. Leithart offers an accessible, thorough treatment of the ancient text and provides practical applications to aid in the teaching and preaching of the Word.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Dale Ralph Davis, Focus on the Bible, Christian Focus, 2002, 352 pp.

First Kings is a continuation of a narrative of the history of Israel which begins in 1 Samuel and continues through into 1 & 2 Kings. While we so often struggle with the events and issues of the book of 1 Kings, Ralph Davis helps us to see how it we can apply to the contemporary settings of the twenty-first century. As usual, Ralph Davis uses pastoral application and laces it with his own sense of humor. He is noted for tackling scholarship head on.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Best Books on 1 Kings

The Nathan Narratives
The Nathan Narratives

The three Nathan narratives in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings are given detailed consideration in this fascinating study. A persuasive attempt is made to reconstruct the original form of the traditions and to trace the modifications made to them before they were finally accepted into the Succession Narrative. The original Nathan, a court official and chief spokesman for the Jebusite group, sought a working compromise between the original Jebusite inhabitants of Jerusalem and its new Israelite settlers. After accepting service under King David, Nathan tried to secure the best he could for the Jebusites in this new situation. When this tradition was expanded, modified, and theologized, the consistent Nathan of early tradition became a complex character and almost appears as a dual personality: the diplomatic court prophet of the original narrative became an outspoken prophet of Yahweh in the “theological” accounts of his activities.

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The Story of King David
The Story of King David

The Story of King David attempts to provided a fresh perspective on the narrative about David in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. Commonly known as the "Succession narrative," Gunn attempts to create better appreciation for its nature as a story. The book provides an initial survey of pespectives on the narrative, followed by his own proposed alternative view of the succession narrative as a story. This proposal is developed through literary and rhetorical analysis. Gunn concludes with his own interpretation of the narrative and two appendixes on literary criticism and style.

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Joshua to Kings: History, Story, Theology
Joshua to Kings: History, Story, Theology

The Old Testament tells the story of a particular nation, ancient Israel, from its origins to its collapse in the face of foreign invaders. But what sort of story is this? How does it fit in with the findings of archaeological explorations of ancient Syro-Palestine? Joshua to Kings picks up the aspects of Israel’s story as told in the books from Joshua to 2 Kings, that of an actual historical society and that of a literary presentation of a nation, told from a religious perspective. By exploring the contents of these biblical texts the student is led into the use of basic tools for biblical study, such as historical criticism, narrative criticism and ideological criticism, in order to engage in a structured manner with the task of reading and interpreting biblical texts in a twentieth-century world.

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Israel in the Book of Kings
Israel in the Book of Kings

Linville argues that a new approach to the book of Kings is needed because of the failings of the usual historical–critical methods. He adopts a holistic approach, which sees the book as a Persian-era text intended to articulate politically and religiously significant symbols within the book’s monarchic history. These express the producer’s reactions to important issues of Jewish identity in the continuing Diaspora and in Jerusalem. In the story of the schisms and apostasies of Israel’s defunct monarchies, both the Diaspora and cultural pluralism are legitimized. Rival versions of Israelite heritage are reconciled under an overarching sense of a greater Israelite history and identity.

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Into the Hands of the Living God
Into the Hands of the Living God

Into the Hands of the Living God is Lyle Eslinger's second study of Deuteronomistic literature. This book is devoted to studies of key texts (Joshua 1–9; Judges 1–2; 1 Samuel 12; 1 Kings 8; 2 Kings 17) or concepts (the success/failure of the conquest; the exile and theodicy) in these narratives. Eslinger's readings are unorthodox and challenging, both for readers from the communities of faith and for critical scholarship. The Deuteronomistic narratives are here shown to be far from being a vindication of the ways of God at Israel's expense. Rather, in these narratives God, no less than Israel's leaders, has his hands soiled in the machinations that end in Babylon. The Deuteronomistic history offers a dispassionate analysis of the problems, some unavoidable, that predetermined the failure of the covenant relationship. The collection of carefully worked out close readings of the biblical text in this volume provides a new critical vantage point from which one can reassess conventional historical-critical readings of these colorful books.

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Best Courses on 1 Kings

Mobile Ed: BI205 Old Testament Exegesis: Understanding and Applying the Old Testament (15 hour course)
Mobile Ed: BI205 Old Testament Exegesis: Understanding and Applying the Old Testament (15 hour course)

Embark on a journey of Old Testament Hebrew exegesis with Jason DeRouchie. The books of the Old Testament were the only Scriptures Jesus had. It was books like Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Psalms that shaped Jesus’ upbringing and that guided his life in ministry as the Jewish Messiah. It was these Scriptures that Jesus identified as God’s Word and that he considered to be authoritative; it was these Scriptures he believed called people to know and believe in God and guarded them against doctrinal error and hell. This course will give you the tools you need to access meaning in the Old Testament, then apply it to your life. It will help you to grow in reading God’s living Word for depth and not just distance.

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Mobile Ed: OT203 Literary World of the Old Testament (6 hour course)
Mobile Ed: OT203 Literary World of the Old Testament (6 hour course)

Join David W. Baker on a whirlwind tour to explore the Old Testament from many different angles and how it relates to ancient Near Eastern literature. From creation accounts and stories of destruction to Wisdom Literature, discover different biblical literary genres that have parallels in ancient Near Eastern literature. Explore extrabiblical historical texts that mention key events and figures from the Old Testament. Understand how Israel fits into and is impacted by its ancient Near Eastern environment but also how it is separate and unique, mainly on a theological level but also by its distinct worldview.

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Mobile Ed: OT204 Social World of the Old Testament (4 hour course)
Mobile Ed: OT204 Social World of the Old Testament (4 hour course)

In an age of international travel and migration, we’re familiar with people who look, sound, eat, and believe differently than we do. To become friends, it’s helpful to understand where they come from and how they do things differently, or the same, as we do. In the same way it is necessary to understand someone who comes from a different place than we do, how much more necessary is it to understand someone who is from not only a different geographical place but also a different time than we are? The Old Testament starts at the beginning of the world. This course will undertake the task of crossing the bridges of geography, climate, time, and a landscape unknown to us: ancient Israel. Throughout the course, David W. Baker will address aspects of life from our own culture and time, as well as family structure and societal systems from ancient Israelite life. As you learn more about the social world of the Old Testament, you will be struck not only by our differences but also our common humanity and that we share the same dreams, hopes, and fears as they did.

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Mobile Ed: OT281 How We Got the Old Testament (5 hour course)
Mobile Ed: OT281 How We Got the Old Testament (5 hour course)

In this course, ancient-language expert Dr. Michael Heiser gives a thorough background of the Hebrew Bible’s writing, composition, canonicity, and transmission through the ages. This course also surveys text criticism—what are Hebrew scholars today doing with these ancient manuscripts? How does their work affect English translations of the Bible? By understanding criticism, your personal Bible study will be richer, even with little knowledge of the Hebrew language.

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