A Study of I Kings
Date: About 970 B.C. – 560 B.C.
People: David, Solomon, Hiram, the Queen of Sheba, Ahab, Elijah, Elisha, and various kings of Israel and Judah
Purpose: To show that the Lord of history executes the threats and keeps the promises of His holy covenant
Law Themes: The Lord condemns the evil deeds of Israelite and Judean kings who violate the covenant, especially by instituting idolatry
Gospel Themes: The Lord establishes David’s household through Solomon’s line, from which would come the Messiah’s everlasting kingdom; promised mercies are delivered through the temple services
Introduction: First Kings begins with the death of King David (about 970 B.C.) and the magnificent reign of his son, Solomon, who wrote much of Israel’s wisdom literature. Solomon’s unfaithfulness later in life set the stage for general apostasy among the people. The harsh policies of his son Rehoboam led to the revolt of the northern tribes under Jeroboam I, and the division of Israel. The Northern tribes would subsequently carry the name Israel, while the southern tribes would be called Judah. First Kings describes the construction of the temple in Jerusalem, and the importance of proper worship. God’s faithfulness to His people is shown as He sent prophets, most notably Elijah, to warn them not to serve other gods.
Chapter 1: Solomon’s Ascension to the Throne
Read 1:1-4 David in His Old Age
Note: Although 1 and 2 Samuel are devoted primarily to the life and reign of David, the story of how he transferred the kingdom to Solomon is recorded here. Drained of vitality, David still took a firm hand in setting the contest for the throne.
What is the meaning of verse 2?
1:1-4 Opening 1 Kings is the account of the last days of King David. The conclusion of David’s great reign and epic life reminds us of the mortality of all people, for all are sinners and must die. Yet through the Messiah–great David’s greater Son—we have hope and confidence beyond this life to the glories of heaven.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative books of Scripture. Guide us as we read Your Word ti find therein Your priceless promises through the Messiah, in whose name we pray. Amen
Read 1:5-10 Adonijah Sets Himself Up as King
Who is Adonijah and why is he making a claim to the throne?
Does Adonijah’s actions remind you of something else?
Why does Adonijah confer with Joab and Abiathar?
Why is Solomon not invited to the sacrificial meal?
1:5-10 Even before David’s death, a rivalry between two of his sons develops, as Adonijah prepares to take over the reign. Sin and greed lead to dissension—that has not changed. How ugly to witness family rivalry over an inheritance, which is precisely the matter here, especially addressed by the Ninth Commandment. Pray that your family avoids such temptations and plans well for peace. Because of Christ, we are able to forgive one another and live peaceably in His generous heritage of grace.
WE PRAY: Lord God, keep me from jealousy and strife. Lead me to trust Your will for my life. In the Savior’s name, I pray. Amen
Read 1:11-21 Nathan and Bathsheba Before David
Why does Nathan send Bathsheba to warn David first and then he would follow?
What is notably absent from Nathan’s message to David?
1:11-27 Intrigue increases with word of Adonijah’s maneuvers to gain the throne. Nathan shows proper reserve, stating facts and asking the king what his intentions are. When stakes are high, we may feel the urgency to rob others of their decisions. However, God would have us honor the calling of others by assisting them with facts and good counsel. The Word of His prophets is ever ready to counsel and encourage us in the way of peace, indeed, in the way of life everlasting.
WE PRAY: Almighty God, our times are in Your hands. Lead us to use our time on earth wisely, as we live for Him who died for us. Amen
Read 1:28-40 Solomon Anointed King
What does riding a mule signify and what does it foreshadow in this text?
Why does Adonijah take hold of the horns of the altar?
1:28-53 Informed of Adonijah’s intentions, David declares that Solomon is to succeed him as king according to God’s purposes. Human scheming cannot overthrow God’s plans. This is a warning to all who think they can defy the Almighty, but it is also a great comfort to us whose lives and futures are in the hands of the merciful and gracious God.
WE PRAY: Lord God Almighty, I thank You for Your guidance of my life, assuring me that in your Son, Jesus, You are reigning for my good, both now and eternally. Amen
Chapter 2: The First Acts of Solomon’s Reign
Read 2:1-9 David’s Instruction to Solomon
What is the meat of David’s instruction to Solomon?
How does David tell Solomon to deal with Joab?
What does David tell Solomon regarding Shimei?
2:1-9 Before dying, King David charges his son Solomon with the responsibilities of kingship. He rightly commends God’s Word as the basis of good judgment and leadership. David’s dying example of concern for his son Solomon, and the kingdom over which he would reign, encourages us in Christ-like love and service to our families and others. In His death, Christ supplied fully for our life and peaceable service in His kingdom.
WE PRAY: Father in heaven, through life and in the hour of death, keep my eyes set on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
Read 2:10-12 The Death of David
Is there significance in David reigning 40 years?
2:10-12 The Bible reminds us that even great kings are mortal and die. Scripture’s use of the term “sleep” for death—especially when applied to believers—is a wonderful reminder that we shall awaken from death to life with God in heaven, through the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
WE PRAY: God of our fathers, we thank You for all Your blessings. You daily and richly shower us with goodness through Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
Read 2:13-27 Solomon’s Reign Established
Why did Adonijah approach Bathsheba?
Why did Adonijah’s request make Solomon have him killed?
What punishment did David deal to Abiathar?
Read 2:28-35 The End of Joab
Why wasn’t Joab granted refuge at the horns of the altar?
Why does Solomon make Shimei live in Jerusalem?
2:13-46 Through a man of peace, Solomon oversees the deaths of his political enemies. Scripture does not absolutely approve of Solomon’s motives in these cases but does affirm his right and responsibility to govern. God wants us to respect the earthly government under which we live, recognizing that we serve a higher King and are citizens of an everlasting kingdom, that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
WE PRAY: Let me be thine forever, my faithful God and Lord; Let me forsake Thee never nor wander from Thy Word. Amen
Chapter 3: Solomon’s Sacrifice, Prayer, and Wisdom
Read 3:1-9 Solomon at Gibeon
Why does Solomon make an alliance with the Pharaoh of Egypt by marrying his daughter?
What does it mean that the people were sacrificing “at the high places”?
What is verse 3 saying?
What is the “Great High Place” at Gibeon?
Why does Solomon call himself a child in verse 7?
Why is Solomon’s request especially unique in his family?
3:1-15 In return for Solomon’s selfless request for wisdom, God blesses him, not only with wisdom, but also with riches and honor. May we, like Solomon, recognize that we do not deserve the wonderful opportunities God gives us. Because of our human limitations, we are unable to perfectly fulfill the challenges we face. Yet, in Christ, we have forgiveness; we are a new creation and can do all things through Him who gives us strength and wisdom.
WE PRAY: O Lord, do not forsake me in my life of service, lest I bring it all to ruin. May Your Word, my constant companion, give me strength and wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Read 3:16-28 Solomon’s Wisdom
What makes the woman say, “He shall be neither yours nor mine…” in verse 26?
3:16-28 Solomon’s legendary wisdom is evident in his dealing with the two prostitutes who claim to have given birth to the same living child. True wisdom consists of far more than acquiring facts and information. Rather, it is godly wisdom to declare our sinfulness and need for a Savior, and to see in Jesus the One who meets all our needs.
WE PRAY: Omniscient Lord, wisdom’s highest treasure resides in Your Son, who is the very Wisdom of God. Guide me constantly to serve You faithfully. Amen
Chapter 4: Solomon’s Officers, Royal Power, and Wisdom
Read 4:1-19 Solomon’s Officers
What does “force labor” refer to in verse 6?
Note: 4:7-19 Two noteworthy features of Solomon’s reign emerge here: (1) Although some of the place-names have not been identified with known sites, enough fixed points are mentioned to establish the fact that the three districts east and the nine west of the Jordan did not coincide with the territories allotted to the 12 tribes in Joshua 15-19. This administrative realignment of the borders may have been based on the land’s productivity because each new district was required to furnish a month’s “food for the king and his household”. (2) One officer appointed to supervise the collection of food from all the tribes had his headquarters in the land of Judah. However, Solomon’s own tribe apparently was not required to furnish a monthly share of provisions for the royal household. If this was the case, such discrimination may have sparked discontent among the other tribes that flared after Solomon’s death.
4:1-19 The list of Solomon’s officials, among whom he lived and worked, demonstrates the breadth of his wise rule. Today, the people among whom we work are important to us and to the Lord, who supplies us able companions for serving our nation and His kingdom. We are priceless to Him, and our names are recorded in the Book of Life through Jesus’ work on our behalf.
WE PRAY: Thank You, Holy Trinity, for the priceless insights of Your Holy Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Read 4:20-34 Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom
What two things is verse 20 telling us?
Verses 22-23 lists Solomon’s daily provisions. Why so much?
What is verse 25 saying?
What is verse 32 referring to?
4:20-34 This was a fleeting, golden time in Israel’s history. The wealth Solomon enjoyed was a gift from the gracious God. Because of God’s great and undeserved love for us, we enjoy countless blessings in this life, including the certainty of priceless joys and blessings awaiting us in heaven.
WE PRAY: Almighty God, thank You for the countless blessings You shower upon us without any merit or worthiness in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Chapter 5: Preparations for Building the Temple
Ch 5-8 Almost half the account of Solomon’s reign is devoted to still another way in which he displayed wisdom: his building enterprises, particularly the construction of the temple. The tabernacle was supposed to serve as the one place of sacrifice for Israel, but for centuries the Israelites continued to use.
Ch 5 Outlines two preliminary steps for building: (1) successful negotiations with the Phoenician king, Hiram, for the cedar and cypress wood from Mount Lebanon (vv 1-12); (2) the drafting of a huge army of wood and stone workers to prepare the raw materials (vv 13-18)
Read 5:1-12 Solomon’s Message to Hiram
What does Solomon say is the reason he is able to build a house for God now when David was not?
Why does Solomon ask the King of Tyre for His servants to cut down the cedars of Lebanon to be used for the building of the temple?
Why does the king of Tyre agree to Solomon’s request?
What does Hiram ask for in return and what does this tell us about him?
Is the difference between the “forced labor” in verse 13 and the burden-bearers and stone cutters in verse 15?
Ch 5 Solomon, whose name means “peace”, prepares international treaties with Hiram of Tyre in order to build the temple. The Lord calls us to live in peace and to trade with others, even those who do not share our faith. Such peaceful relations are a blessing, but they are small when compared with the blessings of the holy temple. Though Solomon’s temple is no more, God hallows us as His holy temple in Baptism. He has brought us to a saving faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit dwells within our hearts and we daily strive to honor our gracious God in all we think, do and say.
WE PRAY: Holy Spirit dwell within this heart of mine; strengthen my faith in Jesus, my Savior. Amen
Chapter 6: The Building of the Temple
What is the month of Ziv?
What was the actual size of the temple?
What does verse seven tell us?
What is God saying to Solomon in these verses?
6:15:-22 The sketch of the structural components is followed by a description of a predominating interior feature: the exclusive use of wood, ornamented with gold, so that “no stone was seen”. Cedar and cypress woods were used for lining floors and walls, for carved ornamentations, and for making an incense altar that was overlaid with gold.
What was the purpose of the chains in verse 21?
The description of the interior of the temple includes many carved images? Doesn’t this conflict with Exodus 20:4? Why or why not?
How are we to understand the time frames in verses 37 and 38?
How long did it take to complete the temple?
Ch 6 Specific dates, measurements, and descriptions lend gravity to this description of the 7 years it takes to build the temple. With what care and dedication Solomon builds! The Lord calls us to show equal concern for the house of worship in which we gather. It is after all a reflection of our devotion to the Lord, His Word, and His work. Hid dedication to us appeared in Solomon’s descendant Jesus, whose body as a holy temple secured our salvation.
WE PRAY: Lord of hosts, forgive our sins and enable us to serve You and work with our neighbors. Through Jesus’ name. Amen
Engelbrecht, Rev. Edward, A., The Lutheran Study Bible, English Standard Version, Concordia Publishing House, 3558 South Jefferson Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-3968 © 2009
Kretzmann, Paul, E., Popular Commentary of the Bible, The Old Testament, Volume 1, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO © 1923
Guthrie, D., Motyer, J.A., The New Bible Commentary: Revised, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI © 1970 Inter-Varsity Press, London
The Significance of the Number 40:
- The rains (in Noah’s day) fell for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4).
- Israel ate Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:35).
- Moses was with God in the mount, 40 days and nights (Exodus 24:18).
- Moses was again with God 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28).
- Moses led Israel from Egypt at age 80 (2 times 40), and after 40 years in the wilderness, died at 120 (3 times 40; Deuteronomy 34:7).
- The spies searched the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25).
- Therefore, God made Israel wander for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34).
- 40 stripes was the maximum whipping penalty (Deuteronomy 25:3).
- God allowed the land to rest for 40 years (Judges 3:11).
- God again allowed the land to rest for 40 years (Judges 5:31).
- God again allowed the land to rest for 40 years (Judges 8:28).
- Abdon (a judge in Israel) had 40 sons (Judges 12:14).
- Israel did evil; God gave them to an enemy for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
- Eli judged Israel for 40 years (1 Samuel 4:18).
- Goliath presented himself to Israel for 40 days (1 Samuel 17:16).
- Saul reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21).
- Ishbosheth (Saul’s son) was 40 when he began reign (2 Samuel 2:10).
- David reigned over Israel for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 2:11).
- The holy place of the temple was 40 cubits long (1 Kings 6:17).
- 40 baths (measurement) was size of lavers in Temple (1 Kings 7:38).
- The sockets of silver are in groups of 40 (Exodus 26:19 & 21).
- Solomon reigned same length as his father; 40 years (1 Kings 11:42).
- Elijah had one meal that gave him strength 40 days (1 Kings 19:8).
- Ezekiel bore the iniquity of the house of Judah for 40 days (Ezekiel 4:6).
- Jehoash (Joash) reigned 40 years in Jerusalem (2 Kings 12:1).
- Egypt to be laid desolate for 40 years (Ezekiel 29:11-12).
- Ezekiel’s (symbolic) temple is 40 cubits long (Ezekiel 41:2).
- The courts in Ezekiel’s temple were 40 cubits long (Ezra 46:22).
- God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
- Jesus fasted 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2).
- Jesus was tempted 40 days (Luke 4:2, Mark 1:13).
- Jesus remained on earth 40 days after resurrection (Acts 1:3).
- Women are pregnant for 40 weeks (time of testing).
The peace of the Lord be with you -Rev. Brian Dupre, Pastor, SOTC