Book of the Week 11: I Kings

Hebrew Name: Malachim Aleph

Human Author: Unknown (Possibly Jeremiah)                  

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 22

Basic Facts

  1. I Kings is the eleventh book of the Bible.
  2. I Kings is classified as a book of history.
  3. I Kings and II Kings were originally one book.
  4. The Hebrew name for I Kings is Malachim – Aleph, which means “Kings – one.”
  5. I Kings is named Basileion Gamma in an old Greek translation, which means “Kingdoms – three.”

Story of the Book

I Kings begins with king David as an old man. After a brief rebellion in which David’s son Adonijah attempts to succeed David to the throne, David appoints his son Solomon as the next king of all Israel. The book proceeds to tell about the reign of Solomon:

  • Solomon asks for and receives wisdom from God. 
  • Solomon oversees the building of the first temple. 
  • Solomon's reign is a time of plenty and peace in Israel. 
  • Solomon falls into the sin of idolatry, leading Israel on a downward path away from God and toward eventual destruction.

The rest of the book tells of how Israel was divided into the two kingdoms with Israel/Samaria in the north and Judah in the south. I Kings tells of Elijah the prophet’s ministry and the stories of the early kings of Israel/Samaria, including Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, and Ahaziah. I Kings also tells the stories of the early kings of Judah, including Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa, and part of the story of Jehoshaphat. The book of I Kings ends with king Ahaziah worshiping Baal, which provoked God to anger.

Jesus Foreshadowed in I Kings

Jesus is foreshadowed in I Kings in a way that is similar to how He is foreshadowed in II Samuel. In I Kings 9:4-5, God promises King Solomon that if he faithfully obeys all of God’s commands and laws, his royal line shall be established forever over Israel. However, God’s promise to Solomon to establish his royal line forever is contingent upon Solomon’s obedience. God strictly warns Solomon that his royal line would be cut off for disobedience (I Kings 9:6-9). Later in life Solomon falls into idolatry and disobedience, resulting in strife and a downward spiral for the nation, including the kingdom being divided in two.

Later kings after Solomon also disobeyed God, resulting in the eventual exile of both Israel/Samaria and Judah. When Judah went into exile, the royal line of David through Solomon was cut off from the throne—though their descendants would live on. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to David to establish his throne and royal line forever, despite the disobedience of Solomon (II Samuel 7:16; I Kings 9:5; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15). Since the royal line of David is no more, Jesus is the only candidate for this eternal fulfillment to establish David’s throne forever.