This work deals with 1 and 2 Kings as a unified whole, nestled within its canonical context. This canon presumes the reader has prior knowledge of the entire story of Israel and infers the prophetic and New Testament writings. It is examined here as narrative literature with historic and geographic intent, designed to teach its readers about God and the ways of God. The author masterfully draws the reader’s attention to recurring themes in Kings, such as God’s promise and its fulfillment. Provan has succeeded in making Kings a more accessible book.
Save more when you purchase this volume as part of the Sheffield/T & T Clark Bible Guides Collection (44 Vols.)!
“This is not to say, of course, that the book is without its ‘fictive’ elements. It is a story about the past; but it is also a story about the past. The text may clearly seek to tell us about real events and characters in Israel’s history; but it does this in ways that equally clearly owe as much to narrative artistry and literary convention as to any desire to describe things ‘as they really were’. It is at this point that modern readers who have been taught to think of ‘history’ in a particularly narrow way may find some difficulty with Kings. What has narrative artistry to do with the task of describing the past, it may be asked?” (Page 21)
“There are various forms of theory about secondary editing. The two main lines of thought, however, are that the book of Kings known to us now is an updated version either of an originally pre-exilic book or of an originally exilic book.” (Page 30)
“All this suggests that at least one of the purposes of Kings is to provide its readers with an explanation of their past in terms of the theological programme outlined in Deuteronomy, with a view to promoting that programme in the present. It is this aspect of Kings, and its connection in this respect with books like Joshua, which has led Old Testament scholars in recent times to refer to Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings together as the ‘Deuteronomic’/‘Deuteronomistic History’.” (Pages 24–25)
“It has become fashionable among some historians of Israel, in fact, to distinguish quite self-consciously between ‘biblical Israel’ and ‘historical Israel’.” (Page 46)
Iain Provan has been the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies since 1997. He was born and educated in the UK and retains strong family, academic and church connections with his homeland. He received his MA at Glasgow University in Mediaeval History and Archaeology, his BA from London Bible College in Theology and his PhD from Cambridge, where his thesis focused on the books of Kings, and was subsequently published as Hezekiah and the Books of Kings. His subsequent academic teaching career took him to King’s College London, the University of Wales and the University of Edinburgh, where he was a senior lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies. He has written numerous essays and articles, and several books including commentaries on Lamentations, 1 and 2 Kings, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. Most recently he has co-authored with Phil Long and Tremper Longman A Biblical History of Israel. He is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland; a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge; and the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship. He and his wife, Lynette, have four children. Iain is also a qualified Provincial B Licence soccer coach (BC) and ARA rowing coach (UK).