We see in the first chapter that there is an account of the infirmities of David, as he gets older. The preparation of his son Adonijah was made to seize the throne. Bathsheba addresses the king upon this, which was in favor of her son, Solomon, to which Nathan the prophet, seconded the notion. When Solomon was confirmed to succeed in the kingdom, Nathan the prophet and Zadok the priest were commanded to anoint him, which was done with a great ceremony. The news was brought to Adonijah and his friends, which caused them to have terror in the situation, and therefore, they went away. Adonijah made a promise that he would behave well to Solomon, so he was pardoned and dismissed.
In chapter 2, we see that David gives a charge to Solomon, which was before his death, to walk in the ways of the Lord. Some instructions were also given to him concerning people that he should respect or disregard.
We see in chapter 8 the account of the introducing of the Ark into the Temple, to which the glory of the Lord would fill it. Solomon gave a speech to the people concerning the building of the Temple, as well as prayers and defining of provisions for it. He hopes the people of Israel would be blessed, so he exhorts them, and throws a feast.
We see in 1 Kings 12 the sins that Jeroboam caused for Israel involved corrupting the worship of God by instituting golden calves as objects of divine ordination. Next, he changed the place of service from Jerusalem to Bethel and Dan, so it was more convenient. After that, he appointed priests from among tribes other than Levi (which was unauthorized, because the Law did not “cover it.” Lastly, he changed the time of the Feast of Tabernacles from the seventh month, fifteenth day, to the eighth month, fifteenth day. To sum it up, Jeroboam changed the object, place, priesthood, and time of worship for Israel, which was all part of an idolatrous sin.
We see the start of the narrative of Elijah in 1 Kings 17, where there is a prophecy of Elijah that there should be want of rain for many years, and he is directed to go first to Cherith (a brook), where he should be fed by ravens. After that, he is sent to a widow, which was at Zarephath, where he, she, and her son are supported with provisions of meal and oil. The son of the woman is falling sick and dying, but then he is restored to life through Elijah.
In chapter 18, we see that Elijah has an order from the Lord to appear before Ahab, who is meeting with a servant of his named Obadiah, to which he charges him to tell his master his whereabouts, so that he can meet him. Upon meeting him, he desires that all Israel and the prophets of Baal be convened, to which he rebukes them for their idolatry, mockery, and troubling of Israel. God is the true God, as declared, on which all the prophets of Baal were slain (they killed in the name of God…how troubling that is too). Rain in great abundance was given at the prayer of Elijah.
Going forward to chapter 19, Elijah is fleeing for his life per the threats of Jezebel; however, the Lord took care of him, provided for him, and gave him strength so he could get to Horeb. The Lord appeared there and talked to him, to whom he gave instructions to anoint a king over Syria, another over Israel, and a prophet in his room. When he finds Elisha, he is to throw his mantle over Elisha, who becomes a servant.
Lastly, in chapter 21, we see Elijah meeting with Ahab in the vineyard, to which, Elijah denounced the judgments of God upon him and Jezebel for his injustice, however, Ahab humbled himself and dropped manner of evil.
1 Kings covers about 125 years of Israel’s History, from the time of Solomon to the captivity by Babylon. Adonijah was the one who wanted to be king, for he attempted to take advantage of his father, David’s debilitating condition. He marked himself as a great successor to David and had hoped to be chosen. Even Joab and Abiathar left David’s side to join Adonijah. Solomon had Adonijah put to death because he tried to take the kingdom away from him.
Choices Solomon was given for a Godly blessing
- Long life
- The lives of his enemies
What was good about Solomon choosing wisdom (which was probably what God wanted him to choose), was that God gave him the rest of the gifts. Of course, naturally speaking (in our understanding), wisdom makes the most sense; because with wisdom, you can obtain riches and long life, as well as know how to deal with your enemies. It was a “wise choice” for Solomon to choose wisdom!
The wives of Solomon became Solomon’s downfall (especially because they were strange women), because he submitted to the heathen religions that these wives were following. He went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, as well as Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. This was the appearance of evil in the site of the Lord. He even went as far as building a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of moab, for Molech as well, who was the abomination of the children of Ammon, and lastly for all his strange wives. God threatened his reign, as Solomon had fallen into idolatry.
First Kings, a book written by an unknown author in 560-550 BC; details the background of the reign of Solomon (David’s successor), and the division of the kingdom of Israel and Judah.
The book begins with Solomon being the successor of David as king of Israel. David was quite old, and his oldest surviving son, Solomon, established himself as king while David was still alive. Solomon worked soon to solidify his position as king. David advised Solomon of a couple things. One thing was the reminder to be faithful unto God and be obedient to His Will. The second piece of advice to Solomon was to remove/execute those who were likely to rebel against him, and then to reward those who remained loyal to him. Soon, David died. Solomon continued in his reign with wisdom, for David’s power came through war and conquest.
David had placed the Ark of the Covenant in a special tent in Jerusalem, the tabernacle, and the remainder of its articles was still at Gibeon. After being crowned king in Jerusalem, Solomon went to Gibeon for a celebration/ceremony, which was a public exhibit of his devotion to God. In celebration as well, God offered Solomon anything he wished. Solomon chose to ask for wisdom; to judge between moral rightness and wrongness, as he showed concern for God’s People. God fulfilled this request beautifully. Solomon soon began putting his wisdom to good use. Because of his wisdom, especially in administration, Solomon had fame far and near. People made collections of his proverbs and songs. People were drawn to his wisdom quite well.
His fame prospered far, but he had a big plan to focus on. That plan involved the preparation and construction of the temple. God emphasized the dynasty building to David before a temple should be built, because he wanted David’s house in order. This is the way ministers and leaders should be is to first have their house in order before they try to create a house for God. Therefore, Solomon had a great program prepared for the building of the temple. It would last for more than twenty years, and included an expensive palace, among other pricy buildings. God later reminded Solomon that the temple being built should be a blessing to him and his people only if he was obedient to God.
So, we see the construction of the temple and Solomon’s palace laid out and done. Soon, we see all the provisions being put into place, and other miscellaneous furnishings. This included carefully furnishing the ark, to be brought into the temple. Once the ark was in place, God showed the sign of His presence by filling the temple with the cloud of glory. A dedication ceremony commenced, and God demonstrated the acceptance for the sacrifices and for the temple overall. Solomon aimed and assured to keep the covenant requirements for the annual religious festivals. Scripture details other results of Solomon’s fame and wealth, before we see the downfall of Solomon. Much of his wealth had been gained through (excessive) taxing.
We soon see detailed Solomon’s downfall, which included the trouble that was brought by Solomon’s polygamy and idolatry. Through this downfall, God placed judgment on Solomon and Israel by bringing a long-lasting division between the northern and southern tribes, which would divide them into two kingdoms. God had raised adversaries against Solomon. The prophet Ahijah revealed that Jeroboam would be the next king, so Jeroboam wanted power almost immediately. This caused a ruckus between him and Solomon, so Solomon tried to kill him. When he did that, Jeroboam escaped to Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died. Once Solomon died, he would come back and seize control of the throne.
As we move along, especially with the death of Solomon, we see the judgment of division occur. Jeroboam would take over the northern kingdom, which was Israel; comprised of ten tribes. Rehoboam ruled the southern kingdom; which was Judah – two tribes comprised Judah. Throughout time, we see multiple reigns of both of these kingdoms. Abijah and Asa would be next in succession for Judah’s throne, before Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab would rule for Israel’s throne. Ahab was important, in which he married Jezebel – who practiced Baalism. This brought official status of Baalism in Israel by Ahab. Israel’s religion was in danger, because of this.
God then intervened with a large number of miracles and judgments. The prophet Elijah was sent to announce a three-year drought through the land. This would display the powerlessness of Baal. The power of Yahweh was great, but Elijah became unpopular because of his prophecy of the drought. God’s power was then shown to be greater than Baal’s power, even in Baal’s home. This proved that faith was part of God’s blessing, not nationality, as we see in chapter seventeen. God told Elijah that Ahab (and Israel overall) had to decide whether they would follow Baal or Him.
Soon, we see detailed that Baal was defeated in a victory by God in lightning, fire, and water. People acknowledged the victory of God, and Elijah took advantage of the situation to destroy the prophets of Baal. God would then later end the drought. When Jezebel heard that Elijah killed her prophets, she threatened to kill him. Her influence over people became a great threat to Elijah, but God sustained him and enabled him to go to Mount Sinai. Elijah doubted God’s covenant with Israel, because Israel kept disobeying Him. Elijah figured that they were unaffected spiritually by the drought. But, God showed Elijah that some events (violent or not) had some use, but there would be lasting benefits only if people would listen to God’s voice in their hearts. These events (violent and spectacular) fell on Israel as punishment. But, there still needed to be people who heard from God and were faithful unto Him.
After this, Elijah returned to Israel, where Elisha showed his willingness to succeed Elijah through the killing of his oxen and then using them to provide a supper of farewell for his friends and family. Soon, we would see the death of Ahab in his fatal battle with Aram. After that, Judah welcomed in the reign of Jehoshaphat and Israel would welcome in the reign of Ahaziah. This marked the new kingdom reigns and a hopeful prosperity for Israel. A shipping line was created as a partnership between Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah, but when ships were wrecked, Jehoshaphat realized that God didn’t want him associating with the wicked Ahaziah. Ahaziah was found to worship Baal and provoking God to anger, just like his father did. This may have marked a short reign for Ahaziah for the future.