1 & 2 Kings

The books of 1 and 2 Kings, as we have them in our Bibles were originally one book. In Hebrew, they were simply called melakim, or “Kings.”

The author of Kings is not known. Much of the data seems to be a compilation of the annals of the kings of Israel and Judah, but it is really more than that. This book is a statement of God's relationship with Judah and Israel and the rulers of the northern and southern kingdoms. Jewish tradition has Jeremiah as the editor.

It probably should be entitled “Prophets and Kings,” since along with the story of the kings, we find the mes­sages and reproofs of prophet after prophet, carrying messages to the people and shaping the affairs of state.

The last part of the book of 1 Kings is devoted to the crisis in the northern kingdom of Israel during the ministry of Elijah the prophet.

The book of 2 Kings opens with the transfer of spiritual authority from the prophet Elijah to Elisha. This book ends with the tragic collapse of the kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.