Themes in Kings (02) - The Rise and Fall of King Solomon
The Books of Kings include amazing stories and some difficult passages. It speaks of Solomon’s wisdom and glory, the construction of the temple and palaces, the great stories of Elijah and Elisha, Jehu the avenger, the evil of many kings and queens, such as of Ahab and Jezebel, the fall Samaria (Israel) to Assyria, the reforms of Josiah, and finally the exile of Judah and the destruction of the temple and city. The two books (1st and 2nd Kings) together unfold from the reign of Solomon to the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of Judah, emphasizing key themes: the fulfillment of the Word of the prophets, the Davidic promise, the judgment of exile coming on Israel and Judah, and hints of the promise of “resurrection” after exile.
The Parallel Structure of 1st and 2nd Kings
A. Jerusalem Prospering Under Solomon (David’s Son) (1 Kgs 1:1-11:25)?
B. Jeroboam and the Division of Kingdom (1 Kgs 11:26-14:31)
C. Kings of Israel and Judah (1 Kgs 15:1-16:22)
D. The Omride Dynasty and Baal Worship (1 Kgs 16:23 - 2 Kgs 12)
C'. Kings of Israel and Judah (2 Kgs 13-16)
B'. Fall of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kgs 17)
A'. Jerusalem’s Fall and the Survival of David’s Son (2 Kgs 18-25)
(Modified from “The Literary Structure of Kings,” Robert L. Cohn, Lafayette College)
We saw last time, the survival of the line of David, according to the promise of the Davidic covenant. Today we see the rise and fall of David’s premier son, Solomon (1:1-11:43). The events unfold as follows: Adonijah another of David’s sons makes a move for the throne, despite Solomon having been previously chosen as successor (1:5-10/2Sam. 7;12:25). So, Nathan and Bathsheba appeal to the weak and aged king, David (1:11-27). David then has Solomon anointed and this is recognized (1:28-53). David gives his last words to Solomon to clean up the kingdom (2:1-12). Solomon takes care of business, according to David’s advice (2:13-46). Famously, Solomon asks for wisdom (3:1-15) and the the display of that wisdom is evident in his reign (3:16-4:34). Judah and Israel prosper (4:24). Solomon constructs the temple (5-8) and palaces in Jerusalem. Then the glories of his reign are witnessed by the Queen of Sheba (9:10) and his great wealth (10:14). Just at this height, Solomon’s failures are noted, such as multiplying wealth, wives, idolatry, and aggressive warfare (11, see Dt. 17 as the laws for kings). Thus, God’s judgment came at the end of Solomon’s life (11:9ff) and adversaries arose to divide the kingdom (11:14ff).