I Kings begins with Adonijah’s rebellion against his father, King David, the declaration of Solomon as heir to the throne, and King David’s death.
King Solomon built the Holy Temple. I Kings provides detailed architectural descriptions of the building. The completion of the Holy Temple was accompanied by great celebration.
Solomon’s empire stretched from the Euphrates River to Egypt, and the many vassal states paid him tribute. Solomon married many women for political reasons. He had over 700 wives and 300 concubines, including foreign ones who brought idolatry into his palace.
Solomon’s heir, Reheboam, ignored the elders’ advice and taxed the people brutally. The people rebelled and the once united kingdom was divided. Reheboam remained king only over the Southern Kingdom composed of Judah and Benjamin, while the remaining 10 tribes formed the Northern Kingdom, ruled by Jereboam ben Nevat.
Jereboam set up two golden calves (one in Bethel and the other in Dan) in order to prevent Jews from visiting Jerusalem, announcing to the people, “Here is your God!”
The two intertwined kingdoms struggled for survival and supremacy.
Judah’s kings (mentioned in I Kings) after Reheboam were: Abija, Asa, Jehosophat.
Israel’s kings (mentioned in I Kings) after Jereboam were: Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab.
A major player in I Kings is the Prophet Elijah, who spent much of his “ministry” confronting Ahab and Jezebel (queen and pagan priestess). There are many famous stories of Elijah and his battle against the idol worship promoted by Ahab and Jezebel, including Jezebel slaughtering the priests, Elijah’s “sacrificial duel” with the idolaters, as well as of the miracle wrought by Elijah providing food for the widow of Sidon and reviving her son from death.
I Kings ends with the death of Ahab during a battle against Aram.
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