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.
In this commentary, Donald Wiseman brings to this portion of Scripture his lifelong study of the archaeology, history, languages and documents of the ancient Near East. No other commentary on Kings offers as much historical background and well-considered judgment in such concise and accessible form.
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“The request for a double portion (v. 9, ‘share’, rsv, neb, jb), was not that he might excel his master but that he should receive the eldest son’s share according to the law (Deut. 21:17). Such a son had the responsibility to carry on the father’s name and work. The ‘hard thing’ (rsv, niv difficult thing) for Elijah was that since God alone can make the gift of his Spirit to anyone (cf. John 3:34; 1 John 3:24; 4:13) it was impossible for him to meet Elisha’s request. The test would be to see if Elisha had ‘the ability to see and comprehend the spiritual world … and of a visionary to penetrate the heavens’ (Jones, p. 385).” (Page 208)
“The youths may well represent Bethel as the headquarters of idolatry and the main seat of Baal worship in Israel at this time.” (Page 211)
“Such arranged marriages were a common confirmation of international treaties, but this one was the beginning of Solomon’s spiritual downfall. It illustrates the dangers of action based on political expediency alone, and it was also contrary to the law, since it meant the acquisition of foreign gods (cf. Deut. 31:16; 1 Kgs 11:1–6).” (Page 89)
“Our obedience is an essential aspect of God’s protecting grace.” (Page 177)
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