By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 1 Kings…We saw the end of King David’s reign and the tumultuous grab for power. Adonijah attempts to seize the kingdom, but Nathan and Bathsheba secure that title for Solomon. After David’s death, Solomon assumes the position of anointed King over all Israel, and He serves the Lord with his whole heart. However, we see glimpses of his folly as he attempts to unite kingdoms with the pagan Egyptians by marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter. For his faithfulness the Lord blesses Solomon with wisdom that rivaled any other person on earth, and Solomon, in his wisdom, constructs the first permanent temple for the Lord.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 1 Kings 8 – 14.
1 KINGS – At the beginning of this book, we see an old King David in the final days of his life. As David’s time as King comes to an end, there is immediately turmoil in the kingdom as Adonijah, David’s son with Haggish, attempts to seize the throne. However, Bathsheba gains the blessing of David to make Solomon King. Solomon goes on to be blessed by the Lord with unmatched wisdom. He serves the Lord in many ways, in particular he establishes the first permanent temple of the Lord. Unfortunately, Solomon turns from the Lord and is swayed by the gods of his many wives. Because of his unfaithfulness, Israel is stripped from the house of David, but for the sake of the faithful David, the Lord allows the lineage of David to rule over Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat is appointed the new ruler of Israel, and we see a division of the rulers of the 10 tribes of Israel and those of Judah that is plagued with much unfaithfulness, selfishness, division, idolatry, and many evil things. Eventually Elijah and Elisha, the prophets, are brought into the equation as advocates for the Lord, but we continue to see many rulers turn from the Lord. Most notable of them all was Ahab and his wife Jezebel who incited him to do evil in the site of the Lord. Ahab did eventually repent, but the Lord punished his successor nonetheless. Every king of the 10 tribes of Israel through Jeroboam did evil before the Lord, but the kings of Judah wavered serving the Lord whole heartedly at times.
- 1 Kings 8 | Solomon brings the ark to the Temple of the Lord, the Lord fills the temple with His glory and Solomon praises Him, Solomon prays and pleas for mercy, Solomon commits the people to the Lord, the Israelites dedicate the temple of the Lord: After the long process of constructing the temple of the Lord, Solomon finally fulfills the promise of the Lord made in 2 Samuel 7. David, in a time of rest, noticed that while he dwelt in a “house of cedar”, the ark of God which David brought back to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6 resided in a tent! The Lord promised that David’s son would build a house for His name. So, we see Solomon finally move the ark of God from its tent dwelling to the wonderful temple of the Lord, which is interestingly painstakingly created with the “cedars of Lebanon” by the craftsmen of Hiram as we read in 1 Kings 6. After the promise is fulfilled, Solomon praises the Lord before all the people; he asks the Lord to come and dwell on earth in the Temple; he asks for the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness on the people if they stray; and he prays for unwavering commitment to the Lord. With that, the people dedicate the temple with countless sacrifices – 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. The people celebrated and praised the Lord for all his goodness.
- 1 Kings 9 | The Lord responds to Solomon’s prayer and plea, Solomon gives to Hiram, Solomon’s use of forced labor record, Solomon faithfully sacrifices to the Lord, and Solomon builds ships: After a lengthy prayer and plea to the Lord, we see the Lord respond to all that Solomon had to say. The Lord appeared to Solomon for a second time – the first being in 1 Kings 3 when Solomon was granted his immense wisdom. This time the Lord acknowledges and consecrates the temple putting His name there forever. In regards to the pleas for mercy, what the Lord has to say is simple:
“As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.” | 1 Kings 9:4-7
The same concept of faithfulness that governed the lives of all those who came before Solomon was still true in his day. After such a clear “warning”, we see many of the acts of Solomon. Solomon gave Hiram many cities as he had promised for the work he had done. All the forced labor that he had enlisted is documented, and the people of other nations were remained as slave labor after all the work they had done on the temple and house of the king. Solomon even went on to create ships that he and Hiram used to gain even more riches. Above all, we read that Solomon continued sacrifice to the Lord three times a year in the temple he had built.
- 1 Kings 10 | The whole world sought the audience of the great, rich, and wise Solomon, the Queen of Sheba came to lay eyes on all the wonderful things she had heard of, and this seems to be be the start of Solomon’s turning away: This chapter seems particularly interesting to me. Either the chapter is simply describing the wealth of blessing and wisdom bestowed upon Solomon by the Lord, or it is attempting to show an overwhelming bombardment of worldly distraction that eventually lead to Solomon’s falling away from the Lord, a blatant disregard of the Lord’s clear warning. To me, it seems like the latter is true because there is so much that Solomon indulged in. He made an ivory and fine gold throne, his goblets were gold, he had vast numbers of horses and chariots imported from foreign countries, all people from around the world sought his wisdom, even the Queen of Sheba came because she did not believe all that she had heard of the great King Solomon. When she witnessed his greatness, “she was overwhelmed”. All of this seems to be too much! I couldn’t see myself having the strength to fight off the temptation of pride and lust, but maybe Solomon did. Maybe this was just documentation of his faithfulness and the subsequent reward. However, the following chapter doesn’t seem to support that conjecture.
- 1 Kings 11 | Solomon turns away from the Lord, Hadad, Rezon, and Jeroboam are set against Solomon, and Solomon dies and is succeeded by his son, Rehoboam: Unfortunately, Solomon did not heed the warning of the Lord, and he was led astray. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines of different nations. The Lord made it clear in Deuteronomy 7 that marrying those outside of the people of the Lord would have dire consequences, and Solomon faced those consequences as they caused his heart to go after other gods. “His heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” And because he turned away, the Lord promised to take the kingdom not from him, because of David’s faithfulness, but from his son, and not completely away but just 10 tribes leaving 1 for David’s lineage to rule. The chapter continues to list out many adversaries of Solomon that the Lord raised up because of his sin, one of whom had been in works long before since the time of David and Joab, which sheds some light on the working of the Lord. Hadad was a boy who escaped the clutches of Joab in Edom when all the men were put to destruction. That boy fled to and grew up in Egypt until David’s death. Upon hearing of David’s death, he returned to be a thorn in Solomon’s side. Hadad, Rezon, and Jeroboam were all raised up against Solomon. In particular, Ahijah met Jeroboam, one of the king’s servants, on the road and promised him the 10 tribes of Israel, excluding Judah, to rule over because of Solomon’s unfaithfulness. Eventually Solomon died after reigning for 40 years and we go on to see the struggle for rule between his son, Rehoboam and Jeroboam, the newly promised ruler.
- 1 Kings 12 | Rehoboam turns the people away from him as promised, Jeroboam is made king over all tribes except for Judah, Rehoboam rises against Jeroboam but it is quenched by the Lord, and Jeroboam turns the people of Israel away from the Lord: After Solomon’s death, Rehoboam went before all he people to anointed king. Rehoboam unknowingly divorced himself from the people as the Lord had promised would happen. The people claimed that Solomon had made their yoke heavy with all he had the people do, and instead of listening to the elders and lightening the burden of the people Rehoboam listened to the counsel of the young men he grew up with and promised to increase the burden on all the people and discipline them not with whips, like his father, but with scorpions! Rehoboam played right into the will of the Lord!
So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. | 1 Kings 12:15
And ultimately Jeroboam was established as king over all of Israel except for the tribe of Judah, which stayed faithful to the lineage of David. Rehoboam attempted to rise up against Jeroboam and the tribes of Israel, but the Lord quickly quenched his attempt by sending word through Shemaiah that Rehoboam should not fight against his relatives. Unfortunately, Solomon’s sin resulted in much turmoil as we begin to see Jeroboam turn all the people away form the Lord. Jeroboam, in fear of losing the kingdom, created golden calves for people to worship instead of worshipping at the temple of the Lord, and he established temples and priests that were not of the Levites.
- 1 Kings 13 | The prophecy of Josiah, of the house of David, rising up against the evil of Jeroboam, and the authenticity of the message: A man came before Jeroboam as he stood at the altar, the false altar for golden calves I assume, to offer. The man prophesied of Josiah who would rise from the house of David and essentially sacrifice the false priests that Jeroboam had established upon the altar! As proof of the validity of his prophecy, he tells of a sign – the altar would be torn down and the ashes that were on it would be poured out. Jeroboam in anger claims to seize the man pointing at him, and his hand dried up, which again proves the power of the prophecy. Jeroboam quickly requests the favor of God from the man to restore his hand, and it was granted. He then shows kindness to the man and invites him to eat and drink. The prophet revealed yet another strict commandment of the prophecy which forbade him to eat or drink in the place or to even walk back the way he came. So he went another way than which he came. To further establish the significance and authenticity of the prophecy, the passage continues to document the travels of the man. As he was on his way out, another old prophet, possibly an evil man, heard of what happened by way of his sons. He caught up with the prophet that confronted Jeroboam and lied to him saying that an angel told him to bring the prophet back to his house to eat and drink. When the prophet sat and ate and drank at the old prophet’s home, he heard the word of the Lord that condemned him for his disobedience. The prophet was killed by a lion as he made his way out on a donkey, and both the lion and the donkey stood over his body until the old prophet eventually heard and took it away. After all of these signs, Jeroboam still did not trust in the truth of the prophecy. He continued to ordain priests and cause his household and all of Israel to sin.
- 1 Kings 14 | Harm is prophesied against the house of Jeroboam, Jeroboam’s son dies, Jeroboam dies, meanwhile Rehoboam reigns in Judah: The prophecy against Jeroboam compounds in this chapter. He sends his wife to inquire of Ahijah about his sick son. Ahijah responds by prophesying that Jeroboam’s son will die the moment his wife steps foot in the home, and he prophesies that the Lord will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and burn it up until it is gone because of all of his evil. He also prophesied that the Lord would raise up a king over Israel that would “cut off the house of Jeroboam”. This prophecy was confirmed as Jeroboam’s wife departed from Ahijah’s presence and Jeroboam’s son died the moment she stepped on the threshold of the house. So Jeroboam reigned for 22 years. The results of his evil ways were clearly prophesied, and Nadab, his son, reigned after his death. Meanwhile, Rehoboam reigned in Judah for 17 years. Under his watch, “Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”, and they suffered the loss of the laws of their forefathers and the riches that had been stored up in the house of the Lord. Rehoboam warred with Jeroboam throughout his reign, and he eventually died leaving Abijam, his son, to reign.