will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and
uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my
statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples” (1
This warning will govern the events of the next unit of the Bible, the eighth, which extends from 1 Kings 11 through 2 Kings 25, from the end of Solomon’s reign to the tragic events of 586 BC. We cover this unit in the readings from April 15 through 25 this year. As you read, keep in mind the following observations:
1) The main events of the unit: The division of the kingdom in two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Both are seduced by the surrounding nations. Israel is defeated and exiled by the Assyrians in 722 BC and Judah by the Babylonians in 586 BC.
2) Yahweh’s outstanding attributes: His justice, His severity, His longsuffering and His faithfulness
3) Yahweh’s main work: He reproves His adulterous people.
4) The main participants: The prophets Elijah and Elisha and many kings, among whom are Rehoboam and Jeroboam, Ahab, Jehu, Hezekiah, Manasseh and
5) The main reference to Jesus Christ and the gospel: “And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, ‘See, your son lives.’ And the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth’” (1 Kings 17:22-24).
6) Key observations: As we will see, the kingdom that was united under David and Solomon will be divided in two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Up to this point we could refer to all of the people of God as “Israelites” and all their land as “Israel”. Now we cannot. From now on, the word “Israel” only refers to the northern kingdom; the word “Israelites” refers only to the inhabitants there. “People of Judah” refers to those who live in the southern kingdom.
It is very difficult to follow all the names of the kings. I recommend that you
find or make a list of all the kings of the two kingdoms and write some outstanding details about each one. I hope to upload my own list to the blog within the next few days. It helps not only in identifying the kings but also in holding a complete view of all the readings in this unit and the next.
With this in mind, let’s continue our reading of 1 Kings.