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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

- 1 Kings

by Editor - Joseph S. Exell

The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic



By the

Author of the Commentaries on the Psalms (121–130), Lamentations, Ezekiel, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon

New York




No pains have been spared to make this volume a thoroughly usable and suggestive Homiletic Commentary on the two Books of Kings. Every available work bearing on the subject has been consulted and made to contribute its choicest passages, either in exposition or illustration. What every explorer in this field must have discovered before, the homiletical material on the Books of Kings is exceedingly scanty, and there are many paths the writer has been compelled to traverse alone, and for the first time, so far as any known literary record bears evidence. The remark of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, in his valuable little work on Commenting and Commentaries, has been often painfully realized: “We have next to nothing on the Books of Kings.”

The student will readily detect the plan on which the work has been carried out. Each chapter is prefaced by “Critical and Explanatory Notes,” which elucidate any word or sentence in the original text thought to be of use and value to the exegete. These “Notes” are from the practised pen of the Rev. W. H. Jellie, the author of the scholarly and elaborate Commentary on JEREMIAH in this series. The paragraph on which the main homily is constructed consists of as many verses as contain a complete subject. For the “Germ Notes,” this paragraph is again minutely scrutinized, and every verse, or part of a verse, that suggests matter for homiletic treatment, is utilized, together with any outline, or pithy and illustrative comment, from other sources.
The practical aim has been to bring together, within the smallest compass, as much homiletical material on the subject of the paragraph as will be suggestive to the thoughtful sermonizer in working out his own original composition.
Of the seven hundred and forty-three outlines, brief or more extended, contained in this Commentary, one hundred and eighty-seven are from the pens of other writers. In every case where the author’s name is not appended, the outline is original.
Among the principal works consulted in the progress of this Commentary are:—Lange’s Commentary on the Books of Kings (written by Dr. E. Harwood and W. G. Sumner, B.A.); Keil’s Commentary on Kings; Whedon’s Commentary (by Milton S. Terry, A.M.); Dr. R. Jamieson’s Critical and Experimental Commentary; The Speaker’s Commentary; Trapp’s Commentary; Pool’s Annotations; Dr. Kitto’s “Daily Bible Illustrations”; Maurice’s “Prophets and Kings”; Bishop Halt’s “Contemplations”; Stanley’s “Jewish Church”; and Geikie’s “Hours with the Bible.”

In the prosecution of this work, the constant effort has been to seize and develop the moral teaching interwoven with the details of the history, to show how the fluctuations of national prosperity and disaster were conditioned on the fidelity or treachery of God’s covenant people, and to apply the lessons derived from the Divine treatment of the Israelites to the national life of to-day. Thus viewed, the history becomes not a mere desiccant record of facts, but pulses with life and meaning.




THE two books of Kings originally constituted one continuous work, the division into two portions being made in the printed edition of the Hebrew work by Bomberg, in 1518. They are essentially historical in their character, though the history throughout has an evident moral drift. The work was composed, probably by Jeremiah, during the second half of the Captivity. The object of the writer appears to be to place before the exiled and sorrowing Jews a faithful picture of their history from the period when the kingdom reached the highest pitch of national glory under Solomon, to its declension and fall. The history is written not so much from a civil, as from a religious point of view. The Jews are regarded not as an ordinary nation, but as the people of God with whom He has entered into covenant. The historian refers to civil events only so far as they illustrate the moral condition of the nation, and the Divine dealings with it. He traces the various steps in the moral probation of the captive race, and exhibits their conduct under such probation in its true light. In the full career of Solomon’s prosperity and magnificence, the author sees and notes the fatal taint of evil, the inclination towards idolatry, which is to gather strength, and increase, and finally to bring about the complete rejection of both Israel and Judah. The sun of Solomon sets amid clouds, and henceforth the narrative is marked by a pervading spirit of deep melancholy, which is not wholly cast off even when the most pious monarchs are its subject, and the most glorious deliverances have to be spoken about.[1] In the darker characteristics of the later history God has presented to mankind another illustration of the deep depravity of human nature, and its invariable tendencies, not heavenward and upward, but earthward and downward; not to a transcendental perfection, but further and further still from God and hope and peace. For we see that till Christianity came, human corruption made even permanent national prosperity impossible. A perfect kingdom cannot come till there is a perfect nature; and a perfect nature can only be a thing of the future when the crowned and conquering Messiah shall establish over this scene of strife and confusion His universal kingdom of righteousness and peace. The Jews at the period of the Captivity were probably exercised by anxious doubts relative to the accomplishment of the Divine promises.[2] The history of human nature is the same in all ages and among all nations; and there are instructive lessons to be learnt by a comparison of modern with ancient times. The design of this Commentary is not to furnish historical information, which may be readily gained from so many sources; but to aid in tracing the dealings of God with man in varied conditions, in searching out the moral truths that lie underneath alike the great and trivial events of national and individual lite, in interpreting the suggestive teachings of the Old Dispensation in the light of the New, and in applying the lessons derived from the manifold aspects of the Divine movements in history in their practical bearing on moral conduct.

[1] Rawlinson’s Introduction.

[2] Garbett’s Divine Plan.

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