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An Introduction to the Books of First and Second Kings

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I. CANON: The Canonical Shape of Kings:

A. The early Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament combined the books of Samuel and Kings under the title of kingdoms, or reigns (Basileiai, BASILEIWN)

Therefore 1 & 2 Samuel = 1 & 2 Kingdoms; and 1 & 2 Kings = 3 & 4 Kingdoms

B. In the Hebrew Scriptures the book of Kings (<ylm) was originally one book1

1. Kings was broken into two books for convenience sake because of its length

2. Josephus' limitation of the Hebrew canon to twenty-four books seems to verify a unified Kings:2

a. Lamentations may have been with Jeremiah

b. Ruth may have been with Judges

c. Kings may have been one book

C. The English has adopted the fourfold division of the historical books after the Greek Septuagint but with the Hebrew names of 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings

D. The Books of Samuel and Kings cover Israel's period as a nation under a king:

1. Samuel--Saul

2. Samuel--David

3. Kings--Solomon and the divided kingdom

4. Kings--The fall of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah

E. Placement in the Hebrew Scriptures: One of the Prophets

1. The Prophets is grouped into Former Prophets (Joshua-2 Kings [not including Ruth]) and Latter Prophets (Isaiah-Malachi [without Lamentations and Daniel])

2. They were the last book of the Former Prophets

a. Labeling them as prophetic rather than historical suggests that these books are primarily theological in nature rather than annalistic.3

b. Classification of the Prophets4: The prophets may be identified within three basic categories--(1) pre-monarchy,5 (2) pre-classical,6 (3) classical7--as the following chart unfolds:8

PERIOD

FUNCTION

AUDIENCE

MESSAGE

EXAMPLES

PRE-MONARCHY

Mouthpiece-lead

People

Nation guidance, Maintenance of justice, Spiritual overseer

Moses Deborah

PRE-CLASSICAL

Mouthpiece-adviser

King and court

Military advice, Pronounce-ment of rebuke or blessing

Nathan

Elijah

Elisha

Micaiah

       

Transition:

North-Jonah9

South-Isaiah

CLASSICAL

Mouthpiece-social/spiritual commentator

People

Rebuke concerning current condition of society; leads to warnings of captivity, destruction, exile, and promise of eventual restoration, Call for justice and repentance

Writing Prophets

Best example: Jeremiah

F. Placement in the Greek/English Scriptures: One of the Historical Books

1. As with the Greek Septuagint (LXX) 1 & 2 Kings are grouped along with the twelve historical books (Joshua to Esther).

2. As Walton and Hill write, “the books share a prophetic view of history in which cause and effect are tied to the blessings and cursings of the covenant.”10

II. AUTHOR OF KINGS:11 An Anonymous Editor-Compiler-Author (Jeremiah?) from the sixth century B.C.

A. The Deuteronomistic School:12

1. A late eighth or early seventh century school which aligned itself with Judah and the reforms of Josiah (640-608 B.C.) and extended through the exilic period writing historical works supports the principles in Deuteronomy (a late book written for Josiah’s reforms

2. This theory requires Deuteronomy to be a late document which was composed to support Josiah’s reforms (622 B.C.)

3. The theory suggests that the editors then rewrote Joshua-Kings to express the interests of theological reform which were expressed in the forged Deuteronomy.

4. Kings would have been written in two redactions: (1) pre-exilic during Josiah’s reign and reforms which explains the pro-southern kingdom tone, and (2) exilic prompted by the release of Jehoiachin (560 B.C.) and dated around 550 B.C.

5. However, Deuteronomy demonstrates unity on the level of a second millennium Hittite suzerainty-vassel treaty. This argues sharply against a late creation of the document, and thus the necessity of a Deuteronomistic school as its creators and thus the creators of Kings

6. Yes, Kings are Deuteronomistic in that they reflect the theology of Deuteronomy, but it is a Mosaic theology and not a fabricated theology to support the reform under Josiah13

B. Jeremiah the Prophet:

1. Traditional Jewish scholarship has identified the writing/compiling of this book with the prophet Jeremiah14

2. Some of the basis for the identification of Jeremiah with Kings is the similarity of Jeremiah 52 with 2 Kings 24--25

3. Another support for Jeremiah as the author is that the history of Kings gives prominence to the place of true prophets in both the Israelite and Judean ministries

4. Another support for Jeremiah is that the writer seems to have been an eye witness to the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.)

5. Those who identify Jeremiah as the author consider the historical abstracts at the end of 2 Kings (Gedaliah, governor of Judah in 2 Ki. 25:22-26, and Jehoiachin’s release in Babylon in 2 Ki. 25:27-30) as being latter additions

6. Also the author of Kings does not use the familiar names for the kings of Judah as Jeremiah did (cf. 2 Ki. 24:8)

7. Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel write, “Despite the lack of dogmatic certainty, a reasonable case can be made for Jeremianic authorship (cf. G. Archer, SOTI rev. p. 289). S. J. Shultz (‘Kings,’ ZPEB, 3:812) affirms the likelihood that ‘the prophets kept the records throughout the generations of the Hebrew Kingdoms.’ Since he was descended from the priestly line of Abiathar, and since in all probability his father, Hilkiah, was active in communicating both the traditional facts and the teaching of Israel’s past, it is very likely that Jeremiah had access to historical and theological source materials. Furthermore he would have had more ready entrée to royal annals than any other prophet. Certainly no other prophet was so intimately involved in the final stages of Judah’s history. If so, Jeremiah may have been active in composing the greater part of the history of the book of Kings (1 Kings 14-- 2Kings 23:30) during the so-called silent years of his prophetic ministry after his call in 627 B.C., during the long reign of the godly Josiah. Certainly the contents of all but the last appendix (2 Kings 25:27-30) could have been written by Jeremiah. Perhaps this was added by Baruch or drawn from Jeremiah 40--44, possibly also was written by the same writer as a bridge to the later historical notice concerning Jehoiachin.15

C. An Anonymous Editor-Compiler-Author of the Sixth Century B.C.16

1. This allows for the historical abstracts at the end of 2 Kings 25

2. This writer probably was a an exile who lived in Babylon during the captivity (2 Kings 25:27-30)

This could not have been Jeremiah since he died in captivity in Egypt

3. This may or may not have been a prophet

4. Some have felt that it was either Ezra or Ezekiel

5. He certainly used sources

6. He had a sense of how the northern and southern kingdoms' histories were built upon their covenant relationship with the Lord

III. SOURCES USED IN KINGS: Several sources were used in the construction of the books of kings:

A. Those which are specifically mentioned:17

1. The Book of Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)18

2. The Book of the Chronicles/Annals of the Kings of Israel (mentioned seventeen times in 1 Kings 14:29--2 Kings 15:31)19

3. The Book of the Chronicles/Annals of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 15:23)20

B. Those which are not specifically mentioned, but are proposed by some:21

1. The Succession Narrative or Court Memoirs/History of David 1 Kings 1:1--2:1122

2. An Elijah-Elisha Prophetic Cycle with the House of Ahab (1 Kings 16:29--2 Kings 13)23

3. An Isaiah Source (2 Kings 18:13--20:19)24

4. An independent Prophetic Source25

5. Two concluding Historical Abstracts (2 Kings 25:22-26, 27-30)

IV. DATES AND CHRONOLOGY FOR THE BOOKS OF KINGS:

A. The books of Kings were Written between 560 and 538/539 B.C.

1. The last event recorded in 2 Kings 25:27-30 is the release of Jehoichin from prison during the thirty-seventh year of his imprisonment (560 B.C. [597 B.C. minus 37 years of captivity = 560 B.C.]). This marks the earliest date that Kings could have been completed26

2. Since there is no mention of a return to Jerusalem after the captivity, it is probable that the book was written before that event in 538/539 B.C. This marks the latest date that Kings could have been written.27

B. This material covers a period from the end of David's reign (c. 970 B.C.) to the captivity of Israel (587/586 B.C.) and then the release of Jehoiachin (560 B.C.).

C. Foreign Powers Mentioned in the Books of Kings28

Egyptians

An unnamed Pharoah

Shishak [945-924]

So or Osorkon [726-715]

Necho [609-594]

1 Kings 3:1

Aramaeans

Rexon [940-915]

Tabrimmon [915-900]

Ben-Hadad I [900-960]

Ben-Hadad II [860-841]

Hazael [841-806]

Ben-Hadad III [806-770]

Rezin [750-732]

1 Kings 11:23-25; 15:18

1 Kings 15:18

1 Kings 15:18, 20

1 Kings 20

2 Kings 8:15

2 Kings 13:3

2 Kings 15:37

Phoenicians

Ethbaal [874-853]

1 Kings 16:31

Edomites

Hadad [?]

1 Kings 11:14-22

Moabites

Mesha [853-841]

2 Kings 3:4ff.

Assyrians

Tiglath-Pileser III [745-727]

Shalmaneser V [727-722]

Sargon II [721-705]

Sennarcherib [704-681]

2 Kings 15:19-22

2 Kings 17:3-6

Isaiah 20:1; 2 Kings 18:17

2 Kings 18--19

Babylonians

Merodach-Baladan II [703]

Nebuchadrezzar [604-562]

Evil-Merodach [562-560]

2 Kings 20:12-13

2 Kings 24--25

2 Kings 25:27-30

D. The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah29

The Kings of Israel (Northern Kingdom)

 

Hayes and Hooker

Thiele

Bright

Cogan and Tadmor

Jeroboam

927-906

931-910

922-901

928-907

Nadab

905-904

910-909

901-900

907-906

Baasha

903-882(880)

909-886

900-877

906-883

Elah

881-880

886-885

877-876

883-882

Zimri

7 days

885

876

882

Omri

879-869

885-874

876-869

882-871

Ahab

868-854

874-853

869-850

873-852

Ahaziah

853-852

853-852

850-849

852-851

Jehoram(Joram)

851-840

852-841

849-843/2

851-842

Jehu

839-822

841-814

843/2-815

842-814

Jehoahaz

821-805

814-798

815-802

817-800

Jehoash(Joash)

804-789

798-782

802-786

800-784

Jeroboam II

788-748

793--753

786-746

789-748

Zechariah

6 months

753-752

746-745

748-747

Shallum

1 month

752

745

747

Menahem

746-737

752-742

745-737

747-737

Pekahiah

736-735

742-740

737-736

737-735

Pekah

734-731

752-732

736-732

735-732

Hoshea

730-722

732-722

732-724

732-724

The Kings of Judah (Southern Kingdom)

Rehoboam

926-910

931-913

922-915

928-911

Abijah

909-910

913-911

915-913

911-908

Asa

906-878(866)

911-870

913-873

908-867

Jehoshaphat

877-853

872-848

873-849

870-846

Jehoram

852-841

853-841

849-843

851-843

Ahaziah

840

841

843/2

843-842

Athaliah

839-833

841-835

842-837

842-836

Joash(Jehosash)

832-803(793)

835-796

837-800

836-798

Amaziah

802-786(774)

796-767

800-783

798-769

Azariah(Uzziah)

785-760(734)

792-740

783-742

785-733

Jotham

759-744

750-732

750-735

758-743

Ahaz

743-728

735-716

735-715

743-727

Hezekiah

727-699

716-687

715-687/6

727-698

Manasseh

698-655

697-643

687/6-642

698-642

Amon

643-642

643-641

642-640

641-640

Josiah

641-610

641-609

640-609

639-609

Jehoahaz

3 months

609

609

609

Jehoiakim

608-598

609-598

609-598

609-598

Jehoiachin

3 months

598-597

598/7

597

Zedekiah

596-586

597-586

597-587

596-586

V. THE LITERARY STRUCTURE OF KINGS:30

A. For the most part 1--2 Kings is in chronological order from the rise of Solomon to the fall of Jerusalem31

B. Some parts of Kings are thematic:

1. The summary account of Solomon's administration (1 Kings 4)

2. The overview of Solomon's architectural achievements (1 Kings 5:1--7:12

3. Events related to Jeroboam I and Hezekiah (1 Kings 13; 14:1-20; 2 Kings 18:7--19:37; 20)

4. The prophetic ministries of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17--2 Kings 8:15)32

C. The formulaic structure of the kings accounts:33

1. The Judahite Kingship:

a. Introduction of the kings:

1) By name

2) Name of the king's father

3) Report of the kings accession (usually synchronized with the reign of his Israelite counterpart)

b. Biographical information is given:

1) The king's age at accession

2) The length of the king's reign

3) The name of the queen mother

4) Jerusalem as the capital of the king

5) An evaluation of the king's moral character and spiritual leadership

c. Closing Information:

1) Identification of additional sources documenting information about the kings reign

2) A death and burial statement

3) An announcement of the king's successor

2. Israelite Kings:

a. Basically the same as above

b. In the biographical information the following changes were made:

1) The royal city was usually Samaria

2) The name of the queen mother was usually omitted

3. Placed within a king's reign were placed:

a. Prophetic speeches (1 Kings 18:20-29)

b. Direct discourse (2 Kings 18:19-27)

c. Wisdom sayings (1 Kings 20:11; 2 Kings 14:9)

d. Poetic materials (1 Kings 22:17; 2 Kings 19:21-28)

D. Differences between the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles:34

1. The Books of Samuel

a. Author uses a biographical style

b. Author writes thematically from a special interest in the prophetic unfolding of the kingdom of Israel, especially as centered in the emergence, triumph, and struggles within the house of David ...35

2. The Books of Kings

a. The author relates the facts in a narrative-annalistic format

b. The author attempts to give a balanced account of the general activities that characterized the outworking of the divine covenant in Israel's first kingdom period.36

c. The author gives attention to the royal and prophetic elements of the Kingdom37

d. The author is interested in the Kings of Israel and Judah

e. The kings are evaluated by the Mosaic law

3. The Books of Chronicles

a. Author uses a theological viewpoint

b. The author writes from the particular viewpoint of divine evaluation of how Israel (and particularly Judah) responded to the revealed standards of the sovereign God, ...38

c. The author emphasizes the priestly elements in the nation's history, such as the temple and worship ...39

d. The author is primarily interested in the kings of Judah

e. In 2 Chronicles the kings of Judah are evaluated in reference to David and the worship of YHWH40

VI. THE NATURE OF THE DIVIDED KINGDOM:41

A. The Less Stable Northern Kingdom--Israel:

1. Only existed as an independent nation for 209 years

2. All of the kings were characterized as evil because they continued the golden calf' cult of Jeroboam

3. The average reign was ten years

4. There were nine different ruling families42

5. Charisma was as important as ancestry to take the throne43

6. The fate of all the kings was tragic:

a. Seven kings were assassinated

b. One king committed suicide

c. One king was stricken by God

d. One king was taken to Assyria

B. The More Stable Southern Kingdom--Judah:

1. Existed a century and half longer than the northern kingdom for 345 years

2. The reign of Judah's nineteen kings and one queen averaged more than seventeen years each

3. The Davidic family was the only family that claimed the throne44

Queen Athaliah's evil reign was the only interruption to the Davidic family

4. Judah also had tragic fates for the kings:

a. Five kings were assassinated

b. Two kings were stricken by God

c. Three kings were exiled to foreign lands

5. But eight of Judah's rulers were good because they followed the example of David and obeyed YHWH:

a. Asa

b. Jehosaphat

c. Joash [Jehoash]

d. Amaziah

e. Azariah [Uzziah]

f. Jotham

g. Hezekiah

h. Josiah

VII. PURPOSES FOR THE BOOKS OF KINGS:

A. To complete the written history of Hebrew kingship as a sequel to the books of Samuel45

B. To show the repeated, divine reasons for the fall of the Jewish nation46

C. To relate the history of the Hebrew united and divided monarchies in their 'covenant failure'47

D. To legitimize the Davidic dynasty through the agency of the prophetic office because the kingship covenant previously announced by Nathan sanctioned the tribe of Judah and the family of David as rightful heirs to the Hebrew throne.48

E. To warn the kings and the people of the consequence of covenant disobedience

F. To demonstrate that the one who was to fulfill the promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 had not yet arrived since none of the kings who followed David were greater than David

G. To provide hope for Israel through the two historical appendicies that God would yet fulfill his promise to the house of David


1 The unity of the books is seen in the recurring phrase, To this day (I Kings 9:13; 10:12; 2 Kings 2:22; 10:27; 14:7; 16:6; 17:23, 34, 41; 21:15) and the continuance of the Elijah narrative from 1 Kings 17--2 Kings 2).

2 Contra Apion 1.8.

3 Walton and Hill, SOT, 155.

4 La Sor et al offers a complete list with central passages, Old, pp. 301-303.

5 These are Joshua, Deborah, Samuel (although Samuel is transitional as the last of the judges and the first of the monarchical [pre-classical] prophets).

They were called prophets because: (1) they were chosen in order to received revelation, (2) Moses is the prototype of a prophet [Deut. 18:18; 34:10], (3) Samuel marked a time when prophecy resumed [1 Sam. 3:7-9]. See La Sor et al, Old, pp. 300-301.

6 These are scattered throughout the historical books including oracles by Nathan, Elijah, Elisha.

Although somewhat artificial, some general distinctions have been made between the pre-classical and classical prophets. The former slightly predate the latter. The records of the nonwriting prophets tend to be preserved in story form, including accounts of their miraculous signs confirming divine authority in their message. The ministry of the nonwriting prophets was essentially to the royal family, and their message was one of judgment and national destruction for covenant violation.

By contrast, the message of the classical (or writing) prophets (e.g., Hosea, Amos, Isaiah) was generally preserved in oracle form and was often underscored with symbolic behavior rather than a miraculous event. The prophets took their message to the political and religious leaders of the monarchies as well as to the populace. In some cases their prophetic ministry was even expanded to the surrounding nations ... (Walton and Hill, SOT, 212).

7 These are most commonly identified with the writing prophets from the eighth through fourth century B.C. primarily including those who wrote books (Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah, Obed, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).

8 Hill and Walton, A Survey, p. 311.

9 Jonah is unique because it does not contain a collection of prophetic oracles to the nation, but is narrative about the prophet.

10 Walton and Hill, SOT, 155; cf. 201.

11 See Walton and Hill, SOT, 201-204; Constable, “1 Kings,” BKC, I:483-84; Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, “1,2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 4:4-7.

12 Most critical scholars today hold to this view or a form of this view. See G. H. Jones, 1 and 2 Kings, 28-46; Simon J. DeVries, 1 Kings, WBC, xxxv-xxxviii, xlii ff; Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 285-287.

13 See Patterson and Hermann, “1 Kings,” EBC, 4:5. Walter Kaiser, Jr., Toward an Old Testament Theology, 63-66.

14 B. Talmud, Baba Barthra 15a.

15 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, “1, 2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 6. See also LaSor, Hubbard and Bush, Old Testament Survey, 253; Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction,, 295.

16 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel write, “At least the majority of the book bears the impress of being the product of one author, who, as an eyewitness of the Jewish nation’s final demise, was concerned to show the divine reasons for the fall. In so doing he utilized many sources, weaving the details together into an integrated whole that graphically portrayed Israel’s covenant failure” (“1, 2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 6).

17 Walton and Hill write, “These documents were probably official court histories kept by royal scribes (cf. 2 Sam. 8:16; 20:24-25) and very likely parallel the royal annals of the Mesopotamian civilizations of Assyria and Babylonia” (SOT, 203).

18 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel affirm that this is “drawn from biographical annalistic, and archival material contemporary with the details of 1 Kings 1--11”(“1,2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 4:4).

19 These were, “drawn largely from the official records of the northern kingdom that were kept by the court recorder (cf. 2 Sam 8:16; 20:24; 1 Kings 4:3; 2 Kings 18:18,37; 2 Chron 34:8)” (Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, “1, 2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 4:4).

20 These were “a record of the events of the reigns of the kings of the southern kingdom from Rehoboam to Jehoiakim” (Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, “1, 2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 4:4).

21 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, “1, 2, Kings,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 4:4; Walton and Hill, SOT, 203-204; Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 294-295; LaSor, Hubbard and Bush, Old Testament Survey, 253.

22 “A united monarchy narrative comprising 2 Samuel 9--20, with 1 Kings 1--2 usually associated with the present books of Samuel” (Walton and Hill, SOT, 204).

23 Walton and Hill note a separate “Dynasty of Ahab” record by also not that it may be contained within 1 Kings 16--2 Kings 12 (Walton and Hill, SOT, 204).

24 This is almost identical to Isaiah 36:1--39:8.

25 This source “contained biographies of Old Testament prophets associated with the Israelite monarchies (e.g., Ahijah, 1 Kings 11:29-33 and 14:1-16; Micaiah, 1 Kings 21:13-28; and certain unnamed prophets, 1 Kings 12--13 and 20:35-43)” (Walton and Hill, SOT, 204).

26 It is possible that the bulk of Kings was written before the appendix in 2 Kings 25. LaSor, Hubbard, and Bush write, “Jehoiachin’s release from prison (ca 560) described in 2 Kgs. 25:27-30 sets the earliest possible date for the completion of the book. However, most of it probably was compiled and edited two or three decades earlier” (Old Testament Survey, 253, n. 19). See also Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 295; Donald J. Wiseman, 1 & 2 Kings, 52-54.

27 Walton and Hill write, “It is possible that the book was composed in two stages. Most of the history of Hebrew kingship could have been completed between the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian reprisal for the assassination of the governor Gedaliah (a third deportation in 582 or 581 B.C., which was described in the first historical appendix, 2 Kings 25:22-26 and Jer. 52:30). The final edition of the work may have been published sometime after the release of King Jehoiachin from prison in Babylon by Nebuchadrezzar’s successor, Evil-Marodach (ca. 562/561 B.C., reported in the second historical appendix, 2 Kings 25:27-30). A date of 550 B.C. appears reasonable for the completed Kings record” (SOT, 204).

28 This chart comes from Walton and Hill, SOT, 205.

29 For excellent discussions of this topic see LaSor, Hubbard and Bush, Old Testament Survey, 288-297; Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 297-301; Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 294-300; E. R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983; Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:10-17; Donald J. Wiseman, 1 & 2 Kings, 26-35.

Even though Childs does not hold to the historicity of the chronology in Kings, he does consider it to be a literary device which a canonical function by the manner in which it renders accessible Israel's narrative tradition in terms of particular, cumulative, and critical historical experience (Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 300). He develops its function in a threefold way: (1) the various chronological patterns in the book of Kings serve to establish a sequence in the historical experience of Israel. [Ibid., 297], (2) the use of chronology in Kings, especially its synchronism, provides the story of Israel with a comprehensive character which embraces the whole people of God. The synchronism accommodates the political realities of Israel's divided history, and yet establishes the interrelatedness of the two kings [Ibid., 298], and (3) the chronology in Kings serves to establish the interrelatedness of Israel's history beyond that of the divided nation, by including her experience within the framework of world history [Ibid.]. These observations are helpful.

Child's presupposition about history require him to be either/or in his evaluation rather than both/and when he writes, It seems clear that at some point the biblical writer has borrowed chronological schemata from ancient Near Eastern tradition by which to shape the biblical traditions. He employed categories which constituted an essential part of ancient Near Eastern historical writing in order to render Israel's own story. The basic hermeneutical issue does not turn on the semantic problem of determining to what extent this category can be considered really historical in the modern sense, but rather on the biblical intention in adopting this common form by which to recount her experience (Ibid., 299). One must ask why it is that Israel is permitted to borrow a certain form but is not expected to do the same thing with this form that her Ancient Near Eastern neighbors is doing with the form--e.g., proclaiming history! Yes, the form does all that Childs has described, but it does more than that. It also proclaims what historically happened!

The following chart comes from Walton and Hill, SOT, 208. This writer still leans toward the reconstruction offered by Thiele.

30 Walton and Hill, SOT, 209-210; Donald J. Wiseman, 1 & 2 Kings, 46-52.

31 Nevertheless, Patterson and Austel are correct when they say that, The author tended to write thematically, occasionally leaving his presentation out of chronological order (Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:7). Concerning chronology and style Wiseman writes, The historian extends his selectivity to a discrimatory [sic] use of sources to group together events within a single reign or relating to an opposing people (such as Aram or Edom) without the necessity to present them in a strict chronological order. Similarly he felt free to vary the repetitive formulae which served as the framework within which he wrote up the whole ... and to introduce his own personal review or comment at different points in the composition (Donald J. Wiseman, 1 & 2 Kings, 26).

32 The accounts of the ministries of Elijah and Elisha are important not only as representative biographies of the nonliterary prophetic movement, but also as tracts of faith commemorating key figures in a religious drama with cosmic implications. After his marriage to the Phoenician princess Jezebel, King Ahab installed Baalism as the official religion of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 21:25-26). In contrast, the biographies of Elijah and Elisha stand as monuments to uncompromised faith of Yahweh as the God of the Israelites (cf. 1 Kings 18:16-18). They served as living testimonies of God's covenant faithfulness to Israel and his supremacy over the Canaanite storm-god, Baal (Walton and Hill, SOT, 209).

33 The Kings history is similar to other ancient annals in that it is a terse and formulaic reporting of the key political and military events of a given king's reign (Walton and Hill, SOT, 209).

34 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:8.

35 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:8.

36 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:8.

37 Constable, 1 Kings, BKC, 1:484.

38 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:8.

39 Constable, 1 Kings, BKC, 1:484.

40 Constable, 1 Kings, BKC, 1:484.

41 These statistics are taken from Walton and Hill, SOT, 206.

42 Unlike Judah, dynastic succession in Israel was conditional. The ruling family's claim to the throne was contingent on the king's obedience to the statues of God, according to Ahijah's prophecy to Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:37-38). Failure to obey the commands of Yahweh brought a pronouncement of disaster on the royal household from the prophet of God (1 Kings 14:10-11). Often this prophetic curse included the charge to the succeeding king to systematically execute the family of his predecessor (sometimes resulting in little more than a 'bloody coup' in later Israelite history, cf. 1 Kings 16:3-4, 11-12). God then appointed a new king 'up from the dust' to lead the people of Israel through the word of his messenger (1 Kings 16:2) (Walton and Hill, SOT, 212).

43 Walton and Hill write, the northern kingdom of Israel combined the dynastic succession model of kingship with the charismatic leadership model typical of the era of the Hebrew judges. In this case God raised up a gifted and able male or female leaders for Israel to respond to political and religious crises (e.g., Gideon in Judges 6--7). This leader was empowered by the Holy Spirit--an anointing often manifested by extraordinary physical strength, courage, and spiritual zeal. Charismatic leadership was not handed down from one generation to the next. Rather, God commissioned deliverers from different Hebrew tribes and families on the basis of inherent abilities, covenant faith, and historical circumstances. This random and sporadic investiture of charismatic leaders was no doubt designed to instill faith in Yahweh as the ultimate sovereign in Israel (Walton and Hill, SOT, 212).

44 The type of kingship associated with Judah is usually called the 'dynastic succession' model of royal rule. In this, one family claimed (or in David's case is divinely granted, cf. 2 Samuel 7) royal authority in perpetuity. AT a monarch's death the throne passed to his eldest son, thus establishing a sequence of kings from the same ruling family in dynastic succession for generations. Often the aging king appointed his successor or arranged a tenure of co-regency for his successor in order to guarantee the smooth transition of power (Walton and Hill, SOT, 212).

45 Walton and Hill, SOT, 209.

46 Richard D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, 1, 2, Kings, Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:6. Archer writes, The theme of these two books was to demonstrate on the basis of Israel's history that the welfare of the nation ultimately depended upon the sincerity of its faithfulness to the covenant with Jehovah, and that the success of any rule was to be measured by the degree of his adherence to the Mosaic constitution and his maintenance of a pure and God-honoring testimony before the heathen. The purpose of this record was to set for those events which were important from the standpoint of God and His program of redemption. The author had no intention of glorifying Israel's heroes out of nationalistic motives; hence he omitted even those passing achievements which would have assumed great importance in the eyes of a secular historian. His prime concern was to show how each successive ruler dealt with God in his covenant responsibilities (Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 293). This negative purpose for Kings matches the emphasis by Noth in his Deuteronomistic reconstruction.

47 Walton and Hill, SOT, 207. Continuing they write, The narrative focuses on the figures primarily responsible for covenant keeping in Israel--the kings and the prophets. The prophetic voice has a prominent place in the story of kingship because those divinely appointed messengers functioned as the conscience of the monarchies (Ibid.).

This purpose is very similar to the first.

48 Walton and Hill, SOT, 209. This is in line with von Rad's positive approach to Kings.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines