The books of 1 and 2 Kings cover 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. Within these books, the deuteronomic code—‘doing what is right in the Lord’s sight’—provides a framework by which monarchic history is measured. In the kings’ cultic failures lies the apostasy of the nation and its eventual exile. This apostasy centers on Israel’s commitment to worship YHWH exclusively and to worship according to deuteronomistic norms within the Jerusalem temple as the locus of YHWH’s covenant presence. To safeguard the kings’ commitments, YHWH’s prophets loom large in 1 and 2 Kings: they herald YHWH’s purposes, warn of his judgment for apostasy, and woo his people back to the full experience of covenant life. Lissa M. Wray Beal’s valuable commentary examines the successes and failures of monarchy in the divided kingdoms. It works with the final form of the biblical text and pursues historiographical, narrative and theological questions, including the relation of each chapter’s themes to biblical theology. While it focuses on theological and narrative concerns, the commentary gives due attention to complex historical issues. It seeks to provide a nuanced reading that is faithful to the text’s message.
“Thus Elisha asks for appointment as Elijah’s legitimate heir (Watson 1965) and signals this by the request for a double portion of the spirit experienced by Elijah.” (Page 304)
“YHWH’s judgment against covenant sinfulness, and YHWH’s grace that forestalls judgment as long as possible” (Page 56)
“These figures are, however, indicators of two other important characters in 1-2 Kings. The first character is YHWH. Kings serve at YHWH’s behest and the monarchy is his allowance given his people when they rejected his own kingship (1 Sam. 8–12; Deut. 17:14–20).” (Page 23)
“For the church, no less than ancient Israel, there is a great sense of surety in YHWH’s sovereign will enacted in history. Having created the cosmos and his people, he does not abandon them to the vicissitudes of chance.” (Page 55)