Introduction to the Book of 1st Kings Index
Research Material
Following is the introduction to Both 1 Kings and 2 Kings, which are parts of one whole.


  • The present two books of Kings were originally one, known in Hebrew as Melakim, "Kings." In the Hebrew Bible, Kings continued undivided until the time of the printed edition of Daniel Bomberg, 1516-1517. The Greek translators of the LXX, who divided the "book of Samuel" into two books also divided the "book of Kings" into two books, an treated the four as parts 1 to 4 of "Kingdoms." (2BC 715)
  • The title "Kings" indicates the contents of the books; our present first book of Kings gives the history of the Hebrew monarchs beginning with the death of David and the reign of Solomon and closing with the accession of Jehoram in Judah and Ahaziah in Israel. Second kings begins with a continuation of the account of Ahaziah's reign and closes with the end of the kingdom of Judah. (4BC 715)


  • The books of Kings are more in the nature of a compilation of selected materials brought together by an editor rather than an original production from a single hand. They contain highly valuable and reliable historical material. Items drawn by inspired men from early sources have been brought together and arranged into a framework following a specific pattern, with comments indicating a deep religious purpose. Many items have been taken directly or indirectly fro official court or temple records. Archeological research touching many of these items has proved beyond question the striking accuracy of the accounts in Kings. There are narratives taken over, no doubt, from records preserved in the schools of the prophets. Stories are presented at times with great dramatic appeal, and yet again with sober moralizing judgments. Historical contributions are found in these writings without parallel anywhere in the records of Assyria, Egypt, or Babylon. Even when judged from the standpoint of profane history, these writings, with their deep human appeal, their matchless charm, sagacious political judgments, and penetrating moral philosophy, are among the most outstanding productions that have come to us from the ancient East. (2BC 715-716)
  • With all the diversity of source material, there exists a striking evidence of unity and regularity of plan. The accounts of the various kings are presented with a fixed formula [from] the beginning and [to the] end of each reign. Judgments are pronounced in which the kings are compared with either the good or evil monarchs who preceded them. Certain peculiarities of though and expression which pervade the entire two books of Kings point definitely to some single individual who played a prominent part in bringing together this material in its present form. (2BC 716)
  • The date of the composition is provided by the conclusion of the book itself, the final period of Judean history, when the southern kingdom was brought to its end by Nebuchadnezzar and its people were taken into Babylonian captivity. We cannot identify with certainty the individual who brought together the materials of Kings in their present form, but Jewish tradition has a report in the Talmud, Baba Bathra, 15a, that it was Jeremiah. If (2 Kings 25:27-30) be regarded as a postscript, the editor could well have been Jeremiah or an inspired contemporary of his. (2BC 716)