Kings, books of the Bible, originally a single work in the Hebrew canon. They are called First and Second Kings in modern Bibles, and Third and Fourth Kingdoms in the Greek versions, where the books of Samuel are called First and Second Kingdoms. First and Second Kings cover the period c.1000 B.C.–c.586 B.C. and continue the historical narrative of First and Second Samuel, from the death of David to the destruction of Judah. The books are generally considered to belong to the Deuteronomic history (Joshua–2 Kings), in which existing sources were edited to describe and explain Israel's historical fate. The major divisions of First and Second Kings are as follows: first, the reign of Solomon, including the end of David's reign and a lengthy account of the Temple; second, a synchronizing parallel account of the two Hebrew kingdoms, beginning with the division between Rehoboam and Jeroboam and including the rise and fall of the house of Ahab of Israel, into which is woven the careers of the prophets Elijah and Elisha; and third, the end of the southern kingdom. First and Second Kings show Israel's kings leading the nation in its violation of the covenant between God and his people, thus bringing upon the nation the curses anticipated in chapters 27 and 28 of Deuteronomy. The events of Kings are told from a different point of view in Chronicles, which is an apologia for the Davidic monarchy.
See R. Nelson, 1 and 2 Kings (1987).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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