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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings

- 1 Kings

by Daniel Whedon

COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT.

Intended for Popular Use

VOL. 4. KINGS to ESTHER.

BY REV. MILTON S. TERRY, A.M. D.D.

WHEDON, LL.D., EDITOR.

NEW YORK: NELSON & PHILLIPS.

CINCINNATI: HITCHCOCK & WALDEN.

1877.

PREFACE.

BY THE GENERAL EDITOR.

THE present volume is the fourth (though the second issued) of a projected Commentary on the Old Testament, to consist of eight volumes, uniform with the Commentary on the New Testament, which is now being published at our Book Rooms. The purpose is to exclude all matter but Commentary proper, and thereby to bring a large amount of exegesis into such compass that the complete work may be purchased at a reasonable sum. The best results of biblical investigation, ancient and modern, down to the latest dates, will be presented. Sufficient maps and illustrations are to be furnished. While the work will, we trust, be acceptable to Ministers and Scholars, such simplicity and clearness will be preserved that the whole will be available for Popular Use. The arrangements now made with some of our best Biblical Scholars, who are engaged in the work, are such that none need hesitate to purchase a single volume or more from any apprehension that there will be any failure to complete the entire set.

The present volume will be found, we trust, amply to sustain the promises above made. It covers ground on which we have fewer exegetical helps accessible to the common reader than on any other portion of the Bible. We know of no other Manual Commentary in our language on the books treated in this volume. In both his volumes Mr. Terry has brought into Commentary no small amount of fresh matter, and the whole is given with a clearness and completeness that will be generally satisfactory to ordinary readers, an well as to Biblical Students, Bible-class Teachers, and Ministers. The notes, while seldom homiletical or hortatory, are imbued with the Scriptural spirit, and true to the mind of the evangelical Church. Upon the whole work we may confidingly invoke the blessing of Almighty God, with the earnest prayer that he will give to his own Holy Word a divine efficiency to the salvation of men.

D.D.W.

AUTHOR’S NOTE.

As the present volume covers seven Canonical Books of the Old Testament, it was found expedient, in order to bring the Comments on so large a portion of Scripture within the limits of a single volume, to omit the Scripture text of the Books of Chronicles. This was deemed the more allowable since a thorough treatment of the Books of Kings in the same volume rendered a corresponding fulness in Chronicles unnecessary.

Besides many of the works mentioned in our Preface to the preceding volume, the principal exegetical helps and literature to which the present volume is indebted, and the editions to which direct references are made, are the following: BAHR on the Books of Kings in Lange’s Bibelwerk, translated by HARWOOD and SUMNER. New York, 1872. ZOCKLER. Die Bucher der Chronik. Leipsic, 1874. (The last named, the eighth part in the German of the same Bibelwerk, came to hand too late to be of much service to us.)

JOSEPHUS. Opera Omnia, Ed. Oberthur, 3 vols. Greek and Latin. Leipsic, 1782-1785.

KEIL. Commentary on the Book of Kings, translated by J. MURPHY. Edinburgh, 1857. Also by the same author, Commentary on Kings, translated by JAMES MARTIN, (1872;) on Chronicles, translated by ANDREW HARPER, (1872;) and on Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, translated by SOPHIA TAYLOR, (1873;) forming a part of KEIL and DELITZSCH’S “Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament,” in Clark’s “Foreign Theological Library.” Edinburgh.

MAURER. Commentarius Grammaticus Criticus in Vetns Testamentum. Leipsic, 1835.

RAWLINSON. “The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World.” 3 vols. New York, 1871. “The History of Herodotus, English Version, with copious Notes, etc.” 4 vols. New York, 1859. “Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records stated Anew;” being the Bampton Lecture for 1859. The “Speaker’s Commentary,” on Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. New York, 1873.

THENIUS on Kings, and BERTHEAU on Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, in the “Kurzgefasstes Exegetiches Handbuch zum Alten Testament.” Leipsic.

TYRWHITT. Esther and Ahasuerus. 2 vols. London, 1868.

The Polyglots of WALTON, and of STIER and THEILE, have been used throughout the entire work, and whenever the ancient versions furnish various readings or additions of special interest and value to the reader, the facts have been duly noted in our comments.

1 KINGS

INTRODUCTION

Name and Historical Value.

THE Books of Kings, so called from their being a record of the kings of Israel and Judah, form a direct continuation of the Books of Samuel, and bring the history of the Hebrew Monarchy down to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. The division into two Books was first made by the Septuagint translators, and was followed in the Vulgate; and the two parts were commonly called the Third and Fourth Books of Kingdoms, or, of Kings, the Books of Samuel forming the First and Second. This division of either work into two parts is altogether needless and arbitrary, and in Kings awkwardly separates the continuous narrative of Ahaziah’s reign and Elijah’s life into different books.

The history contained in these books covers a period of about four hundred and fifty years; and, aside from its religious and theocratic lessons, is invaluable for the facts it has preserved from oblivion. “Considering the conciseness of the narrative and the simplicity of the style, the amount of knowledge which these books convey of the character, conduct, and manners of kings and people during so long a period is truly wonderful.

The insight they give us into the aspect of Judah and Jerusalem, both natural and artificial into the religious, military, and civil institutions of the people, their arts and manufactures, the state of education and learning among them, their resources, commerce, exploits, alliances, the causes of their decadence, and, finally, of their ruin is most clear, interesting, and instructive. In a few brief sentences we acquire more accurate knowledge of the affairs of Egypt, Tyre, Syria, Assyria, Babylon, and other neighbouring nations, than had been preserved to us in all the other remains of antiquity up to the recent discoveries in hieroglyphical and cuneiform monuments.” HERVEY, SMITH’S Bible Dictionary.

Unity and Design.

Though the materials of which these books are compiled are professedly drawn from various sources, there is a manifest unity of form and purpose throughout the entire work. There is a noticeable uniformity of language and expression, and a constant repetition of standing formulas; such as, one “slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father,” (1 Kings 11:43; 1 Kings 14:31; 1 Kings 15:8; 1 Kings 15:24; 1 Kings 22:50; 2 Kings 8:24; 2 Kings 12:21; 2 Kings 15:7; 2 Kings 15:38; 2 Kings 16:20,) varied, of course, at times to meet particular facts. 1 Kings 16:6; 1 Kings 16:28; 2 Kings 13:9; 2 Kings 14:29; 2 Kings 21:18. Compare also the forms describing the general character of a king’s reign; as, he “did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord;” or, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord;” these expressions being often made more definite by comparison with the deeds “of David his father,” or “of Jeroboam the son of Nebat,” who “made Israel to sin.” 1Ki 15:11 ; 1 Kings 15:26; 1 Kings 15:34; 1 Kings 16:19; 1 Kings 16:26; 2 Kings 3:2-3; 2 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 12:2; 2Ki 13:2 ; 2 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 15:3; 2 Kings 17:2; 2 Kings 18:3; 2 Kings 22:2; 2 Kings 23:32. Noticeable, also, is the writer’s almost invariable habit of giving, at the beginning of the history of every king, the age at which he “began to reign,” and the number of years he reigned. 1Ki 14:21 ; 1 Kings 15:10; 1 Kings 15:25; 1 Kings 16:29; 1 Kings 22:42; 1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 13:10; 2 Kings 14:2; 2 Kings 15:2, etc.

The grand design of this history is theocratic. The author aims to show how the covenant people prospered and triumphed by obedience and devotion to Jehovah, and suffered by departing from his law. That which was to exhibit the Hebrew nation as Jehovah’s chosen and peculiar people was devotion to the great commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me;” and our historian clearly shows that disobeying this commandment was the fruitful source of all the woes of Israel and Judah. At the same time he aims to show that notwithstanding all the backsliding and idolatry of the Israelitish people, Jehovah still remained true to his promise to David, to establish his house and throne forever, (2 Samuel 7:12-16,) and to preserve a light always before him in his chosen city Jerusalem. 1 Kings 11:36. Hence we have the full record of Adonijah’s failure to usurp the throne promised to Solomon. (1 Kings 1:0;) then the accession and brilliant reign of Solomon, during which the temple was built, and Jerusalem fully consecrated as the chosen seat of the Divine worship, (1 Kings 2-10;) then the sins of the great king and the judgments that began at once to follow, (1 Kings 11:0,) culminating in the division of the kingdom. Chap. 12. Then follows the double history of the divided kingdom, until Israel, utterly corrupted and ruined by idolatry, fell before the Assyrian power, and the kingdom of the ten tribes ceased to exist. 1 Kings 12:0; 1 Kings 2:0 Kings 1-17. Still a scion of the house of David reigned in Jerusalem. The efforts of Athaliah to destroy all the royal seed proved a failure. 2 Kings 11:0. For more than a hundred years after the fall of the northern kingdom Judah still stood; and when, at last, “the sins of Manasseh,” which had gone beyond all possibility of pardon, and Jehovah’s holiness required the exile of even David’s seed, the author is careful to show that Jehoiachin, the last legitimate and regular successor of David, (see note on 2 Kings 24:8,) was taken to Babylon, and, after many years of imprisonment, was again elevated and treated with royal honours even in the land of his exile. Thus, so far as our historian was able to write the history of the chosen people, Jehovah was true to his covenant, and to the hopes and promises which David sang: “Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and showeth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” Psalms 18:50.

Date and Authorship.

The closing chapters of the Second Book of Kings clearly show that the work must have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Babylonish exile. The account, at the conclusion of the book, of Jehoiachin’s release from prison in the thirty-seventh year of his captivity, and his honourable treatment by Evil-merodach, also shows that it was written after that event, and consequently during the latter half of the exile. It is possible, indeed, that the account of Jehoiachin’s release may have been appended by a later hand; but there is no need of such an assumption. In the absence of any thing inconsistent with such a conclusion, and with the support of the facts above mentioned, we may quite safely conclude that the date of the composition was about the close of Evil-merodach’s short reign of two years at Babylon. There is no evidence of a later date; and the absence of any notice of the return from exile forbids the assumption that it was written after that event.

It is impossible to decide the question of authorship. The Talmud says, “Jeremiah wrote his own Book, and the Books of Kings and Lamentations,” and many of the older and more recent expositors have accepted this statement. The opinion is favoured by similarity of language and expression, and the almost literal agreement of certain passages, especially 2 Kings xxiv as compared with Jeremiah 52:0. But these and other minor considerations which have been urged fail to prove that Jeremiah was the author, especially when we consider that Jeremiah could hardly have survived the release of Jehoiachin: for that prophet was called to the prophetical office in the thirteenth year of Josiah. (Jeremiah 1:2,) which was sixty-six years before the release of Jehoiachin; and as he was probably thirty years old when he began his prophetical career, he would have been ninety-six at the time of Jehoiachin’s release from prison. But granting him to have been only twenty at the time of his call, as some suppose, (compare Jeremiah 1:6,) he would still have been eighty-six at the time of Jehoiachin’s release too old to write these prophecies. Others suppose that Ezra was the author; and Bleek suggests that it was Baruch, to whom Jeremiah dictated many of his oracles. Jeremiah 36:4. But these are mere conjectures, and the authorship of Kings, like that of many other Old Testament books, must remain unknown.

Sources.

Whoever the author, and wherever he wrote, he had abundant sources of information at his command. Of these the most important were,

1.) THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF SOLOMON. 1 Kings 11:41. This work is not to be identified with either of the works mentioned in 2 Chronicles 9:29; but was probably a full and authentic history of the life and times of Solomon, composed soon after the decease of that great monarch. Keil believes that “it was a work elaborated partly from the official chronicles and other historical monographs on Solomon, and partly from prophetic notes regarding him and his relation to the Lord.”

2.) THE BOOK OF THE CHRONICLES OF THE KINGS OF ISRAEL. 1 Kings 14:19.

3.) THE BOOK OF THE CHRONICLES OF THE KINGS OF JUDAH. 1 Kings 14:29. These last two seem to have been the public and official annals of the two kingdoms, as prepared by the scribes and recorders, and kept as national archives. Such annals were kept by the ancient Persian kings. Ezra 4:15; Ezra 4:19; Esther 2:23; Esther 6:1. Compare also our note on 2 Samuel 8:16. In the kingdoms of Israel and Judah such annals would naturally contain all the important events of each king’s reign, and many passing notices of prophets and other prominent persons that were in any way associated with such events. They would, therefore, be most important sources of information for any one who wished to acquaint himself with the history of the two kingdoms.

Against this plausible and most rational view of the character of these books a view long held by the best expositors several recent critics have raised objections. According to Keil, these “Chronicles” were not the national archives made by the successive recorders, but annals composed by prophets, and compiled partly from the public archives and partly from prophetic monographs and collections of prophecies. He supposes that they had been worked up into a “Book of the History of the Times of the Kings,” for each of the two kingdoms a short time previous to the capture of Jerusalem, “and in this finished form they lay before the author of our work.” This view is also accepted in substance by Bleek and Bahr. But the arguments adduced in its support are all of little weight, and rest substantially on the following objections to the older and more common view, which are easily answered:

1 . ) It is urged that there is no Old Testament evidence that the mazchir, or “recorder,” was a writer and preserver of national archives. But it may well be asked in reply, What evidence is there that he was any thing else? The word recorder ( מזכיר ) is best and most naturally explained as historiographer, or annalist, and other eastern kingdoms had such officers. It is every way supposable that the “Chronicles of the Kings of Israel,” and “of Judah,” were documents similar to the “Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia,” (Esther 10:2,) and if the latter were national archives, why not the former also?

2 . ) It is assumed that wicked rulers, like Ahab and Jezebel, would not have allowed among the archives a record of all their shameful acts. But this again is an untenable assumption. The probability is, that few, if any, of the wicked kings and princes concerned themselves with what the recorders registered; and the king who was not afraid to practice idolatry would not be likely to be more afraid to have his acts recorded.

3 . ) It is said that the contents of the Books of Kings are of too theocratic a character to have been taken from public archives. But this is assuming that the theocratic portions of these books were transferred literally from the sources in question, which no one will maintain. Our author doubtless drew from the Chronicles of the Kings the facts which he records, but not the moral reflections and theocratic lessons which he makes prominent. These were his own, which he wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit; and let it be observed, that he refers to the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and of Judah, not as to sources from which he had literally quoted, but as works where an interested reader might find details of facts which it was not his purpose to narrate. In other words, we may say he refers to them more for what he does not record than for what he has preserved to us in these books.

4 . ) Finally, it is said such national archives must have perished with the destruction of Samaria and Jerusalem, and could not possibly have been within reach of a writer of the latter half of the Babylonish exile. Here, again, we have groundless assertions, to which it is sufficient to reply that such archives would have been no more likely to perish than compilations from them, and prophetic monograms, such as Keil supposes these Chronicles to have been. The same class of persons that took care to preserve the Book of the Law of Moses, and the Books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, together with the prophecies of Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, and others which existed at the time, would not have been likely to overlook records of such importance as the official annals of the two kingdoms.

It is very supposable that our author sometimes made use of other works of which he makes no mention. A large amount of Hebrew literature, historical, prophetical, and poetical, since lost, was doubtless then extant, and accessible to the writer of the Book of Kings; and to deny that he ever made use of such materials is to hazard an unwarrantable assumption.

Contemporaneous Literature.

A very considerable portion of the extant literature of the Old Testament belongs to the period covered by the Books of Kings, and helps to throw light upon the life and customs of that period. First comes the literature of the age of Solomon, comprising the PROVERBS, SONGS OF SOLOMON, a number of the PSALMS, (45, 72, 88, 89, 127,) and, perhaps, ECCLESIASTES and the BOOK OF JOB. These constitute largely a body of ethical and gnomic poetry. “The reign of Solomon,” says Stanley, “has sometimes been called the Augustan age of the Jewish nation. But there was this peculiarity that Solomon was not only its Augustus, but its Aristotle.… With the accession of Solomon a new world of thought was opened to the Israelites. The curtain which divided them from the surrounding nations was suddenly rent asunder. The wonders of Egypt, the commerce of Tyre, the romance of Arabia nay, it is even possible, the Homeric age of Greece became visible.”

Besides the works above mentioned, we have no other literature of importance that can be dated with any degree of probability between the age of Solomon and the latter period of the kingdom of Israel. Then arose a succession of prophets who foretold the coming judgments of Jehovah, and not only warned the kings and people against the danger of idolatry, as the various prophets from the time of Samuel had done, but also uttered various oracles against surrounding nations, and wrote the words of their prophecies in books which have been preserved to the present time. Among the earliest of these was JONAH, who flourished about the beginning of the reign of Jeroboam the son of Joash. 2 Kings 14:25. From the book that bears his name we find the great Assyrian Empire just then becoming known to the Israelites. Nineveh is represented as a great and wicked city, among whose inhabitants Jonah’s message creates a sort of panic, and, in perfect accordance with Oriental impulsiveness, the entire population humble themselves in sackcloth and ashes. JOEL was another of the early prophets whose writings still remain. He belonged to the kingdom of Judah, and speaks often of Zion and Jerusalem. His prophecy abounds with allusions to rural and agricultural scenery, and his vision reaches to Messianic times to the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the consequent triumphs of the Church.

During the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam II. and his successors in Israel till the ruin of the northern kingdom, flourished the great prophet ISAIAH, as well as HOSEA, AMOS, MICAH, and NAHUM. Besides the book of prophecies which bears his name, ISAIAH seems to have written two historical works one a biography of Uzziah, (2 Chronicles 26:22,) and the other a biography of Hezekiah. 2 Chronicles 32:32. These works are now lost; but probably from the latter our author took, substantially, the passage in 2 Kings 18:14-20; and the parallel in Isaiah 36-39 may be regarded as a later modification of the same narrative, made by the prophet himself for the book of his prophecies. See note on 2 Kings 18:13.

Isaiah is the most voluminous of all the prophets, and his works are invaluable for the light they shed upon the history of his times. They abound in rebukes, threatenings, and expostulations with the people, both of Judah and Israel, but chiefly the former, on account of the prevailing idolatry and wickedness; but at the same time they contain more consolation and more Messianic prophecies than the works of any other prophet. They throw light on the history of most of the neighbouring kingdoms, and were very probably accessible to the writer of the Books of Kings. HOSEA’S prophecies show up the grievous disorders and the gross impiety of the kingdom of Israel. Occasionally the sins of Judah are mentioned, but “the iniquity of Ephraim, and the wickedness of Samaria,” are the great burden of his oracles; and against their fearful crimes he seems to exhaust all methods of expostulation, rebuke, and warning. To about the same period belong also the prophecies of AMOS and MICAH. The former pronounced penal judgments against the Syrians, Philistines, Phenicians, Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites, and also and especially against Judah and Israel. MICAH, also, is full of predictions of approaching judgment, and his oracles are directed against Israel and Judah, especially the latter. A little later, but belonging to the same general period, we must reckon NAHUM the Elkoshite. “We can hardly doubt,” says Stanley, “that he was the last of the great series of Israelitish prophets, whether we suppose that he was among the captives in Assyria, or had taken refuge in Judah. There is something pathetic in the thought that the crash of these mighty cities Thebes in the far south and Nineveh in the far east is known to us only through the triumphant cry of this solitary exile. It is one sustained shout of wild exultation that the oppressor has fallen at last. The naked, discrowned corpse of the glorious city is cast out to the scorn and disgust of the world.… Under this doom Nineveh vanishes from view, to be no more seen till in our day the discovery of her buried remains has given new life to the whole of this portion of sacred history, and not least to the magnificent dirge of Nahum.”

More than half a century later than Nahum flourished ZEPHANIAH, HABAKKUK, and JEREMIAH. The first named wrote during the earlier part of Josiah’s reign, and his prophecies consist largely of announcements of speedily approaching judgments upon Judah and various other nations. At the time of his writing Nineveh had not yet fallen. HABAKKUK seems to have uttered his prophecies about the same period; and in the near future his vision sees the rise and fearful coming of the Chaldean hosts their horses swifter than leopards, and fiercer than wolves, and their horsemen flying like eagles upon their prey. JEREMIAH began to prophesy in the thirteenth year of Josiah, five years before the discovery of the Law in the temple and the holding of the memorable passover, and thence on for forty years, until the fall of Jerusalem, he laboured most earnestly for the welfare of Judah. During the reigns of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah he suffered severely from the kings and the ruling parties at their courts, and when Jerusalem was captured he was found a prisoner, and in chains. He had counselled submission to the Chaldeans, and thereby drew upon himself the wrath and hatred of the infatuated rulers. After the destruction of Jerusalem he was allowed to choose whether he would accompany the captives to Babylon or remain with the poor remnant that were left in the land. He chose the latter; but soon after was led, against his wish and protest, along with the panic-stricken remnant, to Egypt, where he died. His prophecies, spread over all this period, are of the first importance and value in studying the last four chapters of the Second Book of Kings. And all the above-named works compose a most precious body of literature, and aid in no small measure to the understanding of the history of the Hebrew Monarchy.

Synchronistic World-History.

After the accession of Solomon the Hebrew people began to take a prominent place among the nations of the earth, and their subsequent history is largely involved in that of several other great nations with whom they came into contact, and by whom they were at last destroyed. No clear understanding of Israelitish history can be had without some knowledge of the synchronistic history of these great heathen powers. Rawlinson observes that the period covered by the history of the Hebrew Monarchy embraces “the transition time of most profane history the space within which it passes from the dreamy cloudland of myth and fable into the sober region of reality and fact.” Hist. Evidences, p. 102. Hence both the interest and importance of all well-authenticated events and facts which synchronize with any part of the history of Israel, especially such facts as affected the destinies of Israel.

The seven Canaanitish nations mentioned Joshua 3:10, (where see note,) had been utterly subdued before the time of Solomon, and the small remnant of them that still existed in the land were in a state of bondage to the Israelites. 1 Kings 9:20-21. Also the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, had been so thoroughly humiliated by the prowess of David, that they were never able afterwards to affect very considerably the national position and destinies of Israel. They stood towards Israel in a state of vassalage, but occasionally would revolt and withhold their tribute, and whenever opportunity offered they stood ready to harass Judah and Israel. They often took advantage of Israel’s wars with greater powers to invade their coasts and carry off captives, and sometimes they joined the greater powers in making war on Israel. In the reign of Jehoshaphat, we find the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites uniting their forces in a war against Judah, (2 Chronicles 20:22,) and also Judah and Israel uniting in a war against Moab. 2 Kings 3:4-27. Perhaps the greatest evil Israel received from these and other contiguous nations came through the idolatrous women whom Solomon took into his harem, and who corrupted his heart and introduced their idolatry into his kingdom. 1 Kings 11:1-8.

Especially did Israel suffer in this way from the Phenicians of Tyre and Zidon. The intercourse of David and Solomon with Hiram, king of Tyre, was of the most friendly character. The latter supplied David with timber for his house, and Solomon with material and workmen for his temple and palace; and the splendid results of Solomon’s extensive commerce were largely due to the skill and help of Phenician sailors. But his Zidonian wives led Solomon’s heart after Ashtoreth, (1 Kings 11:5,) and the marriage of Ahab with Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, was fraught with the most disastrous consequences to the kingdom of Israel. That woman, so remarkable for strength and wickedness of character, established the Baal and Asherah worship with a fearful success in her husband’s realm, and in the course of years it leavened Judah also. We have no record of military hostilities between Phenicia and Israel; but in the later period of the kingdom those world-renowned traders seem to have carried on commerce in Jewish slaves, whom they probably purchased of their captors and sold to the Greeks. Joel 3:4-8. After this the Hebrew prophets utter many oracles of doom against both Tyre and Zidon.

EGYPT.

With Egypt the Israelitish people held various important relations, and the history of the two nations touch at several memorable points. Never could the Hebrews forget their deliverance from Egyptian bondage; but from the Exodus till the time of Solomon the two nations seem to have had no intercourse. After the conquest of southwestern Palestine, Egypt became, in that quarter, Israel’s nearest and most powerful neighbour, and Solomon sought to strengthen his kingdom and enlarge his fame by an alliance with that ancient kingdom. The Pharaoh, whose daughter he took in marriage, (1 Kings 3:1,) was probably the last king of the twenty-first dynasty.

He invaded Palestine, probably at the request of Solomon, and captured Gezer, a Canaanitish city, which he at once presented to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 1 Kings 9:16. But before Solomon’s death a new dynasty (the twenty-second) obtained the throne of Egypt, and its first king, Shishak, received and entertained Jeroboam the enemy of Solomon. 1 Kings 11:40. This act, of course, annulled the affinity between the two kingdoms, and soon after, in the fifth year of Rehoboam, Shishak invaded Judea, and carried off many of the most precious treasures of the kingdom. 1 Kings 14:25 ; 2 Chronicles 12:0. “The record of this campaign, which still remains on the outside of the south wall of the great temple of Karnak, bears an additional interest from the name of Yuda Melchi, (kingdom of Judah,) first discovered by Champollion in the long list of captured districts and towns put up by Shishak to commemorate his success.” Wilkinson.

Some thirty years later, in the reign of Asa, Judea was invaded by “Zerah the Ethiopian,” who was probably another king of this same (twenty-second) dynasty. The invader was signally defeated by the Jewish king, and his vast host pursued in ruinous disorder from the field of battle. 2 Chronicles 14:9-13. More than two centuries pass before we meet again in Hebrew annals with any Israelitish intercourse with Egypt. Then we find Hoshea, king of Israel, plotting to throw off the Assyrian yoke by entering into a secret league with So, or Seva, an Egyptian monarch of the twenty-fifth dynasty, 2 Kings 17:4. This conspiracy led to the destruction of Samaria and the captivity of the ten tribes. Not long after this, in the reign of Hezekiah, we hear of Tirhakah, an Ethiopian king of the same (twenty-fifth) dynasty, marching to fight with Sennacherib and the Assyrians, who were then engaged in besieging Libnah and Jerusalem. 2 Kings 19:8-9. The two armies, however, came not to battle; for before Tirhakah arrived the angel of the Lord smote the Assyrian army and caused them to retreat to Nineveh. 2 Kings 19:35. As Hezekiah was at peace with Egypt (2 Kings 19:21) Tirhakah did not continue his march into Palestine. About a century elapsed after this event before Egypt and Judah came into contact again. Then the great Assyrian empire had fallen, and Nabopolassar was busy in establishing himself upon the throne of Babylon. This seemed to Pharaoh-necho, a king of the twenty-sixth dynasty, a favourable opportunity to make himself master of Syria, and extend his dominion to the Euphrates. He accordingly marched with a formidable army, and was passing through the valley of Esdraelon, when Josiah, who had then reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem, led an army against him, but was defeated and slain in the first engagement. 2 Kings 23:29. Necho proceeded, and established his power as far as Carchemish on the Euphrates, and, returning three months afterwards, deposed Jehoahaz, whom the people of Judah had elected king, and placed his older brother Eliakim upon the throne. 2 Kings 23:30-34. Thus all Palestine and Syria were subjected, and for three years continued tributary to the king of Egypt. At the end of three years Nebuchadnezzar recaptured Carchemish and all the rest of western Asia which had so recently been conquered by Necho, “and the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land.” 2 Kings 24:7; Jeremiah 46:2. Thenceforth the Babylonian empire, so long as it existed, maintained its supremacy over the whole land of Israel. Zedekiah, indeed, rebelled, and sent to Egypt for horses and soldiers, (Ezekiel 17:15,) and while the Babylonian army besieged Jerusalem, Pharaoh-hophra sent an army against them and for a short time raised the siege. Jeremiah 37:5-11. But the Egyptian forces soon returned, and Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. A poor remnant of the people were left in the land under charge of Gedaliah, but he was soon assassinated, and they arose and fled into Egypt. 2 Kings 25:26. Jeremiah the prophet was compelled to go with them. In his later prophecies he predicts the miserable end of those who sought that land for safety, (Jeremiah 42:18,) and of Pharaoh-hophra in whom they put their trust; (Jeremiah 44:30;) both of which predictions were fearfully fulfilled.

SYRIA.

The Syrians of Damascus occupy a prominent place in the wars of Israel and Judah. The whole of Syria was subdued by David, and its numerous petty kings reduced to vassalage, and during Solomon’s reign they remained tributary to the kingdom of Israel. One important exception, however, was the case of Rezon, or Hezion, a subject of Hadadezer king of Zobah, who gathered a military force around him, and established himself as king of Damascus, where he founded a dynasty which continued through several generations. He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon. 1 Kings 11:25. He was succeeded by his son Tabrimon, who formed a league with Israel and Judah. 1 Kings 15:19. The next king was Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon, who broke his league with Israel and joined with Asa, king of Judah, in a war against Baasha, king of Israel, (1 Kings 15:17-22,) which resulted in the capture of many Israelitish towns. In the days of Omri there seems to have been peace between the two nations, and each king had his quarter, or “streets,” in the other’s capital. 1 Kings 20:34. The influence and power of the kingdom of Damascus under Ben-hadad is seen more fully in the history of Ahab’s reign, when, with thirty-two confederate kings and a countless multitude of people, with horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria. The Syrians were repulsed with great slaughter, but the following year they renewed the war again. They were again defeated, and Ben-hadad was forced to make a treaty of peace with Israel. 1 Kings 20:0. Three years later, however, war was opened between the two nations again over the possession of Ramoth-gilead, and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, joined Ahab in the battle. In this war the Syrians were victorious and Ahab was slain. Chap. 22. After this the Syrians troubled Israel more than ever, and during the reign of Jehoram, Ahab’s son, they kept up for some time a predatory warfare, and at length Ben-hadad again besieged Samaria. This siege was nearly fatal to Samaria, and famine had well-nigh exhausted the besieged, when deliverance was suddenly wrought by the miraculous interposition of Jehovah, who caused a panic in the Syrian host, and drove them to a precipitant flight beyond the Jordan. 2 Kings vi, 7. Ben-hadad was finally slain by Hazael, one of his servants, who at once usurped the throne, and during his reign perpetrated all manner of evil upon the children of Israel. 2 Kings 8:7-15. He captured various cities of Israel, and at one time attempted to besiege Jerusalem, but was dissuaded by Jehoash, who gave him the treasures of the temple and palace to retire, and thereby became a vassal to Syria. 2 Kings 12:18.

Hazael was succeeded by his son Ben-hadad, under whom the kingdom of Syria rapidly declined in power. Jehoash defeated him in three successive engagements, and made the kingdom of Damascus again tributary to Israel, as it had been in the days of David. 2 Kings 13:24-25; 2 Kings 14:28. Some time after this, in the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, we find the throne of Syria occupied by one Rezin, who made an alliance with Pekah, king of Israel, and made war on the kingdom of Judah. 2 Kings 15:37; 2 Kings 16:5-6; Isaiah 7:1-9. This Syro-Israelitish league and war caused the kingdom of Judah an untold amount of loss and suffering, (2 Chronicles 28:5-6,) and in his extremity Ahaz formed an alliance with Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, who marched against Damascus, captured the city, slew Rezin, carried the people into exile, and thus put an end to the kingdom of Syria. 2 Kings 16:7-9.

ASSYRIA.

But the kingdom of Damascus, as a hostile power to Israel, falls and vanishes from sight only to give place to the greater power of the Assyrian empire, which at this point begins to fill so large a place in the biblical records. The Assyrian monuments represent Jehu as paying tribute to Assyria; and it is possible that as early as the reign of that usurper both Israel and Judah had formed some kind of alliance or intercourse with this great and growing empire of the East. The first Assyrian invasion recorded in our history was by Pul, and occurred during the reign of Menahem, king of Israel; but the invader was induced, by the payment of a heavy ransom, to withdraw his forces from the country. 2 Kings 15:19-20. The next invasion was by Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah, king of Israel. At his first invasion this Assyrian monarch seems to have ravaged a large portion of Syria and Palestine; according to Rawlinson, the campaign lasted five years. Tiglath-pileser returned with a vast train of captives. 2 Kings 15:29. His second invasion was invited by Ahaz, who sought his help to resist the combined forces of Rezin and Pekah, and his coming resulted, as we have seen, in the utter ruin of the kingdom of Damascus. 2 Kings 16:9. A mutilated inscription now in the British Museum confirms this account of the death of Rezin and the capture of Damascus.

The next king of Assyria was Shalmaneser, who also made two invasions of Palestine. The first was to collect his customary tribute from Hoshea, who seems to have declared his independence of Assyria. Hoshea submitted to his former vassalage without a struggle, (2 Kings 17:3,) but soon after he formed a secret alliance with the king of Egypt, and rebelled again against Assyria. Thereupon Shalmaneser came a second time against Samaria, besieged the city for three years, captured and imprisoned Hoshea, and put an end to the kingdom of Israel. The city was destroyed, and the people exiled to various cities of the East. 2 Kings 17:5-6. Afterwards some of the depopulated Israelitish towns in the vicinity of Samaria were colonized by a mixed population from various Eastern cities. 2 Kings 17:24. Thus the kingdom of Israel was, like that of Damascus, destroyed by the Assyrians.

Though the siege of Samaria was begun and long carried on by Shalmaneser, it seems to have been completed by Sargon, his successor. See note on 2 Kings 17:6. Sargon is mentioned in Isaiah, (xx, 1,) but not in the historical books. His history, however, is amply narrated on the monuments of Assyria. He appears to have been a usurper, who took advantage of Shalmaneser’s long absence to place himself on the throne, “just as in later times the pseudo-Smerdis took advantage of the absence of Cambyses in Egypt for a like purpose. He warred successively in Susiana, in Syria, on the borders of Egypt, in the tract beyond Amanus, in Melitene and Southern Armenia, in Kurdistan, in Media, and in Babylonia. During the first fifteen years of his reign, the space which his annals cover, he kept his subjects employed in a continual series of important expeditions, never giving himself, nor allowing them, a single year of repose.” Rawlinson.

Sargon was succeeded by his son Sennacherib, the most celebrated of all the Assyrian kings. His attempts to conquer Judah in the days of Hezekiah are amply detailed in 2 Kings 18:13-19; 2 Kings 18:37, and Isaiah 36, 37. After a reign of twenty-four years he was assassinated in the temple of his god Nisroch, and was soon after succeeded by his son Esar-haddon. 2 Kings 19:37. “This prince,” says Rawlinson, “like his father and his grandfather, was at once a great conqueror and a builder of magnificent edifices. The events of his reign have not been found in the shape of annals; but it is apparent from his historical inscriptions that he carried his arms over all Asia between the Persian Gulf, the Armenian mountains, and the Mediterranean, penetrating in some directions farther than any previous Assyrian monarch.” He must have been contemporary with Manasseh, king of Judah, who is mentioned on the monuments as one who paid tribute to Esar-haddon, and therefore it was Esar-haddon’s captains who “took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.” 2 Chronicles 33:11. Bricks found on the site of Babylon show that this Assyrian monarch built a palace and occasionally held his court there, which is true of no other Assyrian king. According to Ezra 4:2, Esar-haddon, as well as Sargon, colonized some of the depopulated towns of Samaria with people from the East. He was the last Assyrian king whose name occurs in the Scriptures. He was succeeded by his eldest son Asshur-bani-pal, whom the Assyrian annals represent as one of the most enterprising and powerful of the kings of Nineveh. He subdued Egypt and established his dominion as far up the Nile as Thebes. He entered Asia Minor and passed beyond the track of any former king. In other quarters he was equally successful, and during his reign the Assyrian Empire attained its broadest extent. But in his last years the whole power of the empire was shaken, and the way for its rapid decline and ruin prepared, by a fearful inroad of Scythians from the north, who swept down in overwhelming numbers over the vast plains of western Asia, and left Assyria “but the shadow of her former self,” inviting the attack of any ambitious conqueror. About this time Asshur-bani-pal died, and was succeeded by his son Asshur-emidilin, who seems to have been the last king of Nineveh, and is probably identical with the Saracus or Sardanapalus of the Greeks. He took the kingdom at a most difficult and dangerous crisis of its history. The Medes, a warlike nation of the upland country east of Nineveh, who had probably suffered comparatively little from the Scythian invasion, began now to contemplate the conquest of Assyria. Cyaxares, their king, at the head of a powerful army, and fully aware of the weakness of Assyria, began to invade the country from the east. Meantime Nabopolassar, a general of Saracus, who had been sent with a large force to Babylon to prevent invasion from that quarter, saw that to defend Assyria was a hopeless task, and resolved to improve his opportunity to gain royal power. He entered into secret negotiations with Cyaxares, and agreed to assist him in the siege of Nineveh on condition that he should be king of Babylon. This alliance was formed and sealed by the marriage of Nebuchadnezzar, Nabopolassar’s eldest son, with Amuhia, the daughter of Cyaxares. Thereupon Cyaxares and Nabopolassar united their forces in a combined attack on Nineveh, which was unable to oppose a long resistance. In his extremity and despair the Assyrian monarch withdrew with all that belonged to him to his palace, and setting it on fire with his own hands, perished, like Zimri, (1 Kings 16:18,) in the flames. Thus, in fulfilment of many an inspired prophecy, the great Assyrian empire fell, after an existence of nearly a thousand years.

BABYLON.

Upon the fall of Nineveh nearly all that part of the Assyrian empire lying on the west and south of the Tigris seems to have fallen, by mutual agreement of the conquerors, to Nabopolassar, who was now established as king of Babylon, and with whom the later Babylonian empire began. But ages before this, and in fact ever since the original Chaldean monarchy was destroyed by the Assyrians, there had been an almost ceaseless struggle for the independence of Babylon. Most of the time the rulers at Babylon had been tributary to the Assyrian kings, but occasionally they had thrown off the yoke, and taken up arms to establish Babylonian independence. It is thought by some that Pul, who is called “king of Assyria” in 2 Kings 15:19, was really a Chaldean ruler who had taken advantage of some temporary weakness of Assyria to proclaim his independence, and even carry his arms into Syria and Palestine. But the most successful revolt of this kind was that of Nabonassar, who established and maintained for a long time the independence of Babylon, and having destroyed the records of his predecessors, the year of his accession became an epoch in Chaldean chronology. He was contemporary with Tiglath-pileser of Nineveh, Pekah of Israel, and Ahaz of Judah. The next king of Babylon, of whom we have any considerable notice, was Merodach-baladan, who was contemporary with Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib, kings of Assyria, and with Hezekiah of Judah, with whom he formed an alliance. 2 Kings 20:12. He was repeatedly driven from his throne by the kings of Assyria, who sought to restore their supremacy in that quarter, and was finally defeated and driven into exile by Sennacherib. After this, until the fall of Nineveh, Babylon seems to have been an Assyrian fief. Esar-haddon, as we have seen, built a palace and dwelt here a part of his time, and no great effort was made for the independence of Babylon, until Nabopolassar founded the new empire. Thenceforth this great monarchy rapidly rose to magnificence and power. Nabopolassar was succeeded by his son Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest of all the Babylonian kings. He not only defeated Necho and drove him out of western Asia, but he destroyed Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah, and besieged Tyre for thirteen years, until he captured, at least, a part of the city. His several campaigns against Jerusalem, its final capture and destruction, and the exile of the Jews, are amply detailed in the biblical history. Having acquired by his victories vast hosts of captives, he proceeded to utilize their labour in the construction of great public works. In his “standard inscription” he enumerates the great edifices, towers, walls, embankments, canals, reservoirs, and gardens, which he either built, finished, or repaired. “The indefatigable monarch seems,” says Rawlinson, “to have either rebuilt, or at least repaired, almost every city and temple throughout the entire country. There are said to be at least a hundred sites in the tract immediately about Babylon which give evidence, by inscribed bricks bearing his legend, of the marvellous activity and energy of this king.”

The Book of Daniel sheds light and interest upon the person and history of Nebuchadnezzar, and gives us a sort of inside view of his court and empire. He appears as served by most carefully selected and trained eunuchs; (Daniel 1:4;) his court dignified and graced by wise men of various orders; (Daniel 2:2;) together with princes and officers of various ranks. Daniel 3:2. His power over his subjects was perfectly absolute, his temper violent and hasty, his religious feelings variable. The interpretation by Daniel of his impressive dreams, and the miraculous deliverance of the three Hebrews from the fiery furnace, lead him to great humiliation before the God of Daniel. In the fourth chapter he proclaims to all nations his conversion to the Most High, and his madness by which he was driven from the dwellings of men and grovelled with the beasts of the field. This remarkable event is apparently confirmed by his “Standard Inscription,” in which he says, “Four years the seat of my kingdom did not rejoice my heart. In all my dominions I did not build a high place of power; the precious treasures of my kingdom I did not lay up. In Babylon, buildings for myself and the honour of my kingdom I did not lay out.” The king, however, recovered from his malady, and his last days were as brilliant as his first. According to Berosus and the canon of Ptolemy he reigned forty-three years.

Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, was the next king of Babylon. He released Jehoiachin from prison, and treated him with royal courtesy. 2 Kings 25:27. After a reign of two years he was assassinated by Neriglissar, his brother-in-law, who is called Nergal-sharezer by Jeremiah. Jeremiah 39:3; Jeremiah 39:13. This prince obtained the throne and reigned four years. Laboro-soarchod, his son, a mere boy, succeeded him, but after a few months was deposed, and so insignificant was his reign that he is not mentioned in Ptolemy’s canon. Thus ended the dynasty of Nabopolassar.

A certain Nabonadius was thereupon invested with the sovereignty of Babylon. He was not related to the late dynasty, but proceeded at once to form such a relation by marriage with a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. Of this union Belshazzar was born, and, according to an inscription on a cylinder discovered at Mugheir, was in early life associated with his father Nabonadius in the government of the city and empire. Soon after his enthronement Nabonadius entered into a league with Lydia and Egypt to resist the rising power of the Persians, who under Cyrus were then beginning a career of conquest. But Cyrus was everywhere victorious, and some years after his defeat of Croesus, king of Lydia, and the establishment of his power in that region, the great Persian began to contemplate the conquest of Babylon. So completely was this great city walled and defended that Cyrus despaired of taking it otherwise than by stratagem. Accordingly he withdrew a part of his forces some distance up the Euphrates, and set them to digging a canal to deflect the waters from their regular channel, and when all preparations were made, he wisely waited the arrival of a certain feast of the Babylonians, when they would be less watchful and given over to revelling. Under cover of night the waters were drawn off through the new-made canal, and the Medo-Persian army entered the city through the river-bed, thus rendered fordable; and while the population were given over to drinking and revelling, they made themselves masters of the city, massacred numbers of the inhabitants, who were unprepared to make any resistance, broke into the palace, and slew Belshazzar while he was engaged in impious revelry with a thousand of his lords. Daniel 5:0. Nabonadius was not in the city on that fatal night, but in the neighbouring town of Borsippa, whither he had been driven with a body of troops sometime before. After the capture of Babylon he saw that further resistance was useless, and wisely surrendered to Cyrus, who magnanimously conferred upon him the province of Carmania. JOSEPHUS, Apion, 1 Kings 1:20. Thus ended the Babylonian empire.

Our history embraces a period of four hundred and fifty-four years, extending from 1015 to 561 B.C. We follow the common chronology, (that of Usher,) and furnish an Index which presents in concise and convenient tabular form the dates of the principal events, the synchronisms of the different reigns and of the contemporaneous history of nations that came in contact with Judah and Israel. The chronology of these books is in the main very clearly detailed. The historian is usually careful to designate the year in which each king began to reign, and the number of years he reigned; and in the conjoint history of Israel and Judah there is such a system of cross-references that the different dates verify each other. But there are some dates given which cannot be reconciled, and we are left to harmonize the conflicting texts by conjectural emendations; for example, note on 2 Kings 15:1; 2 Kings 15:8. Sometimes it is necessary to assume an interregnum. It is to be hoped that Assyrian and Egyptian researches will yet settle some of the disputed epochs of history, but the results of these researches are at present too uncertain to be received as final and authoritative. Usher’s scheme adheres closely to the biblical data, and for that reason has obtained a general and long-continued acceptance.

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Contents.

The Contents of the Books of Kings are divisible into three sections or periods. The first embraces the history of Solomon’s reign; the second the conjoint history of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and the third the history of Judah from the fall of Samaria to the Babylonish exile. These Contents should be perused with an eye to what has been said on page 6 on the Unity and Design of this history. While the spirit and aim of both Kings and Chronicles is noticeably Theocratic, the latter work, on comparison with Kings, will be found to be more Ecclesiastical, or Levitical. A comparison of the Contents of both works will show that while Chronicles affords no history of the northern kingdom, Kings gives that history in even greater fulness than it does the parallel history of Judah. The writer of Chronicles prepared his work under a ruling conviction that the highest interests and destiny of the chosen people were bound up with the sacred service and the temple, and hence he dwells so extensively on the functions and orders of the Levites, and the history of the temple service. The writer of Kings aimed rather to give a summary of what was most interesting in the entire political history of all Israel. Compare on these points the Introduction to the Books of Chronicles. The following Table of Contents will serve as a convenient Index:

SECTION FIRST.

History of Solomon, 1 Kings 1-11.

David’s Old Age 1 Kings 1:14

Adonijah’s Usurpation 1 Kings 1:5-10

Solomon made King 1 Kings 1:11-40

Adonijah’s Alarm 1 Kings 1:41-53

David’s Dying Charge and Death 1 Kings 2:1-11

Fall of Adonijah 1 Kings 2:12-25

Deposition of Abiathar 1 Kings 2:26-27

Death of Joab 1 Kings 2:28-35

Death of Shimei 1 Kings 3:36-46

Solomon’s Affinity with Egypt 1 Kings 3:1

State of Religion at the Beginning of Solomon’s Reign 1 Kings 3:2-3

Solomon’s Wise Choice 1 Kings 3:4-15

Solomon’s Judicial Sagacity 1 Kings 3:16-28

Solomon’s Officials 1 Kings 4:1-19

Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom 1 Kings 4:20-34

Solomon’s Negotiations with Hiram 1 Kings 5:1-12

Labourers at Lebanon 1 Kings 5:13-18

Description of the Temple 1 Kings 6:1-38

Solomon’s Palace 1 Kings 7:1-12

The Metal Work and Vessels of the Temple 1 Kings 7:13-51

Dedication of the Temple 1 Kings 8:1-66

The Lord’s Second Appearance to Solomon 1 Kings 9:1-9

Sundry Notices of Solomon’s Acts 1 Kings 9:10-28

Visit of Queen of Sheba to Solomon 1 Kings 10:1-13

Solomon’s vast Revenues 1 Kings 10:14-29

The Sins of Solomon 1 Kings 11:1-8

The Lord’s Anger against Solomon 1 Kings 11:9-13

Solomon’s Adversaries 1 Kings 11:14-40

Close of Solomon’s History 1 Kings 11:41-43

SECTION SECOND.

Conjoint History of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 1 Kings 12-22, and 2 Kings 1-17.

1 KINGS.

Revolt of the Ten Tribes 1 Kings 12:1-19

Jeroboam made King of Israel, and Rehoboam’s vain Attempt to subdue the Rebellion 1 Kings 12:20-24

Jeroboam’s Works and Idolatry 1 Kings 12:25-33

The Mysterious Prophet of Judah 1 Kings 13:1-34

Ahijah’s Second Prophecy 1 Kings 14:1-18

Close of Jeroboam’s Reign 1 Kings 14:19-20

Rehoboam’s Evil Reign, and Shishak’s Invasion 1 Kings 14:21-31

Abijam’s Reign 1 Kings 15:1-8

Asa’s Reign 1 Kings 15:9-24

Nadab’s Reign 1 Kings 15:25-26

Baasha’s Reign 1 Kings 15:27-34; 1 Kings 16:1-7

Elah’s Reign 1 Kings 16:8-14

Zimri’s Reign 1 Kings 16:15-20

Interregnum of Four Years 1 Kings 16:21-22

Omri’s Reign 1 Kings 16:23-28

Beginning of Ahab’s Reign 1 Kings 16:29-34

Elijah the Tishbite 1 Kings 17:1-24

Elijah’s Meeting with Ahab, and Contest with the False Prophets 1 Kings 18:1-40

The Great Storm 1 Kings 18:41-46

Elijah’s Flight to Horeb 1 Kings 19:1-18

Call of Elisha 1 Kings 19:19-21

Ben-hadad’s Wars with Ahab 1 Kings 20:1-34

Ahab’s Reproof 1 Kings 20:35-43

Naboth’s Shameful Execution 1 Kings 21:1-16

Elijah’s Prophecy against Ahab 1 Kings 21:17-29

Syrian Wars and Ahab’s Death 1 Kings 22:1-40

Jehoshaphat’s Reign 1 Kings 22:41-50

Beginning of Ahaziah’s Reign 1 Kings 22:51-53

2 KINGS. Ahaziah’s Sickness, and Reproof by Elijah 2 Kings 1:1-8

Elijah calls Fire from Heaven 2 Kings 1:9-16

Death of Ahaziah 2 Kings 1:17-18

Elijah’s Ascension 2 Kings 2:1-18

Elisha Heals the Waters of Jericho 2 Kings 2:19-22

The Mocking Children Cursed 2 Kings 2:23-25

Beginning of Jehoram’s Reign 2 Kings 3:1-3

War with Mesha, King of Moab 2 Kings 3:4-27

The Widow’s Oil Multiplied 2 Kings 4:1-7

Elisha and the Shunammite Woman 2 Kings 4:8-37

The Poisonous Pottage Healed 2 Kings 4:38-41

Miraculous Feeding of a Hundred Men 2 Kings 4:42-44

The Leprosy of Naaman Cleansed 2 Kings 5:1-19

Gehazi’s Curse 2 Kings 5:20-27

The Lost Axe-head Recovered 2 Kings 6:1-7

Syrians Smitten with Blindness 2 Kings 6:8-23

The Siege of Samaria, and the Great Famine Suddenly Ended 2 Kings 6:24 to 2 Kings 7:20

The Shunammite Woman again 2 Kings 8:1-6

Hazael made King of Syria 2 Kings 8:7-15

Reign of Jehoram 2 Kings 8:16-24

Ahaziah’s Reign 2 Kings 8:25-29

Jehu Anointed King of Israel 2 Kings 9:1-18

Death of Jehoram 2 Kings 9:14-26

Death of Ahaziah 2 Kings 9:27-29

The Fate of Jezebel 2 Kings 9:30-37

Slaughter of Ahab’s Sons 2 Kings 10:1-11

Slaughter of Ahaziah’s Brethren and Ahab’s Adherents in Samaria 2 Kings 10:12-17

Slaughter of the Baal-worshippers 2 Kings 10:18-28

Jehu’s Sins, Misfortune, and Death 2 Kings 10:29-36

Athaliah’s Usurpation 2 Kings 11:1-3

Fall of Athaliah, and Elevation of Joash to the Throne 2 Kings 11:4-21

Reign of Joash, King of Judah 2 Kings 12:1-21

Reign of Jehoahaz, King of Israel 2 Kings 13:1-9

Reign of Joash, son of Jehoahaz, King of Israel 2 Kings 13:10-13

Sickness, Death, Burial of Elisha 2 Kings 13:14-21

Deliverance from Syrian Oppression 2 Kings 13:22-25

Reign of Amaziah, King of Judah 2 Kings 14:1-22

Reign of Jeroboam, Son of Joash 2 Kings 14:23-29

Reign of Azariah, King of Judah 2 Kings 15:1-7

Reign of Zachariah, King of Israel 2 Kings 15:8-12

Shallum’s Rule 2 Kings 15:13-15

Reign of Menahem 2 Kings 15:16-22

Reign of Pekahiah 2 Kings 15:23-26

Reign of Pekah 2 Kings 15:27-31

Reign of Jotham, King of Judah 2 Kings 15:32-38

Reign of Ahaz, King of Judah 2 Kings 16:1-20

Reign of Hoshea, and Fall of the Kingdom of Israel 2 Kings 17:1-23

Origin of the Samaritans 2 Kings 17:24-41

SECTION THIRD.

History of Judah from the Fall of the Kingdom of Israel to the Babylonian Captivity, 2 Kings 18-25.

Beginning of Hezekiah’s Reign 2 Kings 18:1-8

Fall of the Kingdom of Israel 2 Kings 18:9-12

Sennacherib’s Invasion of Judah 2 Kings 18:13-16

Rabshakeh’s Message to Hezekiah 2 Kings 18:17-37

Hezekiah’s Grief; Message to Isaiah 2 Kings 19:1-5

Isaiah’s Reply 2 Kings 19:6-7

Sennacherib’s Second Message 2 Kings 1 Kings 19:8-13

Hezekiah’s Prayer 2 Kings 19:14-19

Isaiah’s Oracle 2 Kings 19:20-34

Calamity and Retreat of the Assyrians, and Sennacherib’s Death 2 Kings 19:35-37

Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery 2 Kings 20:1-7

The Sign on the Dial of Ahaz 2 Kings 20:8-11

Babylonian Embassy, and Prophecy of the Babylonian Captivity 2 Kings 20:12-19

Conclusion of Hezekiah’s Reign 2 Kings 20:20-21

Reign of Manasseh 2 Kings 21:1-18

Reign of Amon 2 Kings 21:19-26

Introduction to Josiah’s Reign 2 Kings 22:1-2

Preparations to Repair the Temple 2 Kings 22:3-7

Discovery of the Book of the Law 2 Kings 22:8-11

Oracle of Huldah the Prophetess 2 Kings 22:12-20

Great Reformation under Josiah 2 Kings 23:1-25

Conclusion of Josiah’s History 2 Kings 23:26-30

Reign of Jehoahaz 2 Kings 23:31-35

Reign of Jehoiakim 2 Kings 23:36 to 2 Kings 24:7

Jehoiachin’s Reign, and First Great Deportation of Exiles to Babylon 2 Kings 24:8-17

Zedekiah’s Reign 2 Kings 24:18 to 2 Kings 25:7

Destruction of the Temple, and of the Kingdom of Judah 2 Kings 25:8-21

Appointment and Assassination of Gedaliah 2 Kings 25:22-26

Release of Jehoiachin from Prison 2 Kings 25:27-30