First Kings continues the story of the united monarchy under Solomon. Dividing itself into two sections, the first half of the book provides the story of the kingdom under Solomon’s reign (Ch. 1-11). We learn of his disobedience and decline. Following his death, a nation in tranquility becomes a kingdom in turmoil. His son Rehoboam unwisely leads the nation into a civil war which rips it apart. The pivotal point in First Kings is the division of the empire in 921 B.C.
The second half of the book records the story of the divided kingdom (Ch. 12-22). Rehoboam becomes the king of Israel, while Jeroboam rules the southern kingdom of Judah. Despite Elijah’s repeated warnings regarding idolatry, the northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyrian forces in 722 B.C and the southern kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon in 587 B.C.
The book is more than a social and political history, for it also records the nation’s response to God and the consequences of disobedience. The welfare of God’s people was dependent upon faithfulness to the covenant. First Kings evaluates the spiritual problems that caused the division of the nation.
1. Consult Biblical maps and sketch an outline of the boundaries of the two kingdoms.
2. Summarize the great example of Solomon’s wisdom as described in chapter three.
3. Describe the Temple’s construction, its workers, and the materials used (Ch. 5-7).
4. Create a portfolio on Solomon. How do his numerous political alliances with other nations affect his empire? Summarize his prayer when the Temple is dedicated. What factors led to his decline? What practice does his son, Rehoboam, continue that contribute to the division of the kingdom?
5. Do a profile on Jeroboam. Describe his character and reign (Ch. 12-14). List the ten northern tribes he led in revolt. What system of worship does Jeroboam establish?
6. Describe the prophetic ministry of Elijah as depicted in chapters 17-21. List his miracles. Summarize the story concerning the sacrifices on Mount Carmel. What makes the prophetical office so vital to the future of the kingdoms?
7. Briefly describe the reigns of the following “good” kings of Judah:
Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah.
8. Do a character study of Ahab and Jezebel. What type of worship does Jezebel introduce? Describe Ahab’s treachery regarding Naboth’s vineyard and how Jezebel was involved. Address the marital problems that led to their demise. What is unique regarding both their deaths?