Understanding the Old Testament - Lesson 15


The Book of Kings, the final installment of the former prophets, presents stories detailing the reigns of Israelite kings, notably Solomon, and the subsequent division and downfall of the kingdom. Spanning from the zenith of Solomon's rule, marked by the construction of the temple and centralized worship, to the nadir of Israel's exile, the book encapsulates key events such as the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. Through Solomon's story, the typological fulfillment of the Davidic covenant is revealed, along with the reasons behind Israel's exile, emphasizing the temporary nature of the Mosaic covenant and the anticipation of the new covenant. The prophetic ministries of Elijah and Elisha, amidst Israel's idolatry, symbolize preparation for resurrection and the ultimate return from exile. Ultimately, the narrative points to Jesus as the true and better fulfillment of the promises, serving as the faithful king, temple, and mediator of the new covenant.

Miles Van Pelt
Understanding the Old Testament
Lesson 15
Watching Now

I. Introduction to the Book of Kings

A. Placement within Former Prophets

B. Title and Content Overview

C. Dating and Authorship

II. Purposes of the Book of Kings

A. Fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant

B. Explanation of Exile and Davidic Line Disruption

C. Reminder of Temporary Nature of Mosaic Covenant

III. Overview of the Book's Structure

A. Reign of Solomon (1 Kings 1-11)

B. Division of Kingdom (1 Kings 12-17)

C. Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 18-2 Kings 17)

D. Southern Kingdom and Babylonian Exile (2 Kings 18-25)

IV. Life and Reign of Solomon

A. Solomon's Request for Wisdom

B. Warning to Remain Faithful

C. Disobedience and Consequences

V. Division of the Kingdom and Ministry of Prophets

A. Jeroboam's Rebellion and Idolatry

B. Ministry of Elijah and Elisha

1. Preparation for Exile

2. Significance of Resurrection

VI. Christological Interpretation of Kings

A. Solomon as Type of Christ

B. Jesus as Ultimate Fulfillment

1. Greater Wisdom and Temple

2. Resurrection and Restoration

  • Engage with the Old Testament to grasp its Gospel-centered nature. From Genesis to Ecclesiastes and Psalms, discover foundational truths, wisdom, and insights on suffering. Strengthen your faith and find enduring hope in God's Word.
  • Gain insight into the Old Testament's theological core, centering on Jesus Christ. Explore its diverse genres, languages, and authors, unified by Jesus as its focal point. Understand how biblical evidence supports Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, shaping interpretation.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides the thematic framework for the Old Testament. The Old Testament's thematic core is the Kingdom of God. Through this lesson, you'll understand its covenantal nature, from pre-temporal arrangements to various administrations like redemption, works, and grace, unveiling God's salvation plan in Christ.
  • Discover the intricate covenantal structure of the Bible, revealing its theological depth and unity, from the division of the Hebrew Bible to its mirroring in the New Testament, all centered around Jesus Christ.
  • Gain insight into the Pentateuch's covenantal structure, Moses' authorship debate, and evidence supporting it. Understand its significance as the foundation of Israel's relationship with God and its relevance for biblical theology.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the theological, structural, and thematic intricacies of the book of Genesis. You'll grasp its role as a foundational text in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring themes of covenant, creation, fall, redemption, and the fulfillment of promises. You'll gain insights into the genealogical structure of Genesis, its portrayal of key biblical figures like Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and its connection to the overarching narrative of the gospel.
  • Exodus reveals Yahweh's promise—"I will be with you"—unfolding divine presence and covenant. It anticipates Jesus as fulfillment—a better Moses and Tabernacle—ushering in God's eternal presence among humanity.
  • Studying Leviticus unveils the intricate system of laws and rituals at Mount Sinai. It explains sacrificial atonement, priestly consecration, purity laws, and the theme of holiness, prefiguring Jesus as the ultimate priest, sacrifice, and source of holiness.
  • Discover the Book of Numbers' insights on Israel's journey, God's faithfulness, consequences of disobedience, and parallels to Christ, cautioning against questioning God's holiness and emphasizing His desire to dwell among His people through the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain insight into Deuteronomy's covenant renewal for Israel entering Canaan, emphasizing obedience, typology, and its relevance for Christian living.
  • Gain deep insight into the former prophets, exploring themes of Yahweh's faithfulness, Israel's unfaithfulness, and the typological significance of the Mosaic covenant. Understand its relation to the Abrahamic covenant and its fulfillment in the New Covenant under Jesus, revealing God's plan for restoration.
  • Joshua unveils Joshua's leadership, divine promise fulfillment in Canaan, obedience's significance, and Jesus as the ultimate fulfiller of God's promises.
  • Discover the Book of Judges, detailing Israel's history and faith journey. Learn about judges as deliverers from oppression and idolatry, portraying parallels with Christ's ministry. Uncover a pattern of uncreation due to idolatry, emphasizing the need for an eternal judge—Jesus Christ—to save from corruption.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides insights into the book of Samuel, exploring its characters, themes, and the transition from judgeship to kingship in Israel. Learn of the significance of the Davidic covenant, culminating in Jesus as the ultimate King of Kings.
  • Gain insights into the Book of Kings, revealing its historical and theological significance. Discover the fulfillment of Davidic covenant, reasons for Israel's exile, and anticipation of the new covenant. Recognize Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of its promises.
  • This lesson reviews latter prophets' insights into Israel's exile for breaking the Mosaic Covenant, the prophetic office's nature, diverse prophecy genres, and the execution of covenant lawsuits, all pointing to God's judgment and hope for restoration.
  • Explore Isaiah's profound prophetic themes, from redemption to impending judgment. Unravel his life and ministry's context, review the debate around authorship, and learn essential tools for study.
  • Enjoy this lesson on Jeremiah, a second Moses figure, and his prophetic message of repentance, redemption, and a new covenant. Explore the book's chiastic structure, historical context, and theological significance, offering hope amidst Judah's fall.
  • Studying Ezekiel reveals its focus on the glory of the Lord and the temple. You learn of Ezekiel's exile, his visions, and themes like covenant theology, creation, and apocalyptic elements, offering profound insights into hope amidst crisis.
  • Discover insights into the minor prophets' diverse genres and themes, from covenant infidelity to divine restoration. Witness Jonah's repentance narrative and prophetic visions culminating in Christ's fulfillment. Embrace Yahweh's justice and compassion, urging Israel's return, leading to Jesus as the ultimate authority.
  • Understand the structure and themes of the Hebrew Bible's writings section. Explore diverse literary forms, intentional divisions mirroring prophets, and the overarching theme of exile and return, illuminating Israel's covenant journey.
  • Discover the depth of the Book of Psalms: 150 songs divided into 5 books, expressing diverse emotions and worship forms. Explore themes, structure, and practical applications for personal devotion and prayer.
  • Gain insights into human suffering and theodicy through Job's trials. Explore themes of faith, resilience, and God's sovereignty amidst adversity. Discover hope in God's incomprehensible sovereignty amid life's trials.
  • Proverbs is a book of timeless wisdom from Solomon, who was gifted by God. By studying this book, you can learn to navigate life with righteousness and discernment, rooted in the fear of the Lord.
  • Journey through Ruth, where redemption, loyalty, and divine providence intertwine. Ruth, a symbol of strength, aligns with Boaz, embodying ancient customs. Their union shapes history, reflecting the enduring legacy of faith amidst life's complexities.
  • Explore the Song of Songs for insights into marriage and intimacy. It navigates the tension between true love and temptation, advocating for unwavering commitment and passionate intimacy, reflecting God's desired relationship. Discover timeless wisdom for modern-day love and marriage.
  • Ecclesiastes reveals life's futility without God, emphasizing the necessity of fearing Him. Through Solomon's wisdom, it prompts reflection on divine purpose amid existential questions.
  • In Lamentations, mourn the fall of Jerusalem and exile, finding hope in God's sovereignty.
  • The book of Esthers contains themes of providence, hiddenness of God, and faithfulness in exile. You will uncover the intricacies of Esther and Mordecai's roles in the deliverance of the Jewish people, as well as the establishment of the festival of Purim. This study will equip you with insights into how God's providence operates amidst human events, even when His presence may seem concealed, and how faithfulness in exile can lead to unexpected outcomes of deliverance and restoration.
  • Through this lesson on the book of Daniel, you'll gain insights into its structure, themes of faithfulness in exile, comparisons with Joseph, and its significance for understanding apocalyptic literature, providing a comprehensive understanding of God's sovereignty and care for His people.
  • Explore Ezra and Nehemiah for insights into post-exilic restoration, intertwining faith, governance, and cultural renewal. These books point towards a deeper longing for true and lasting restoration and echo themes found in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation.
  • The Book of Chronicles traces Israel's history, emphasizing kingship, priesthood, and divine selection. It anticipates restoration, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate priest-king who fulfills God's promises.

Understanding the Old Testament 
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Lesson Transcript

Welcome to this lecture for the Book of Kings. The Book of Kings is the last of the former prophets, which include Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Like Samuel, the Book of Kings is considered a single book in the Hebrew Bible, but because of its translation into Greek sometime before the time of Christ, it got bigger because of the words and needed to be on two scrolls.

So first and second Kings, but it's one book. 

The title of the book is The Hebrew Word for Kings. And so it just is that Kings or Melechim. The reason for that is this book is about the kings of Israel from David on after. In terms of a summary of contents, let me just give you the big picture here. The Book of Kings records the reign of Solomon, David's son, which includes the building of the temple, and the centralization of worship in Jerusalem. It is the high point of Israel's monarchy and the final fulfillment of stage one in the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. The Book of Kings also records the division of the kingdom into Northern and Southern tribes after the life of Solomon, the ministries of Elijah and Elisha, two prophets, the fall of the Northern kingdom in 722 BC, and the fall of the Southern kingdom in 586 BC. So we go from the heights of Israel's kingdom in First Kings eight with the dedication of the temple and the indwelling of the spirit of God to the lowest of lows in First Kings 25, where we have Israel going into exile and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Thus ends the theocratic kingdom of Israel really for all time in that particular capacity. 

In terms of dating, it begins with the reign of Solomon in 971 BC and goes all the way to 586 BC, where the Southern two tribes go into exile at the very end of two kings. 

There are three basic purposes for the Book of Kings. The first purpose is to record the typological fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. The account of Solomon in First Kings two to eight fulfills the word of the Lord to David in 2 Samuel 7. The Davidic covenant where the Lord says to David in 2 Samuel 7:12 to 13, "When your days are fulfilled, you lie down with your fathers. I will raise up your offspring after you who shall come from your body and I will establish his kingdom." Then in verse 13, it says "He shall build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." So Solomon does build that temple, but it does not get established forever. 

Second, the Book of Kings explains why Israel went into exile and why the Davidic line was temporarily cut off. It was not because the Lord could not keep his promises. Israel's destruction in exile was promised back in Deuteronomy chapters 29 to 31. It's stated that if they did not obey the requirements of the covenant, then they would experience the curses of the covenant. The Lord is faithful to his word. And we'll see and we'll see in Kings First Kings 17 and First Kings 25 that the Lord was faithful to his covenant, that is his covenant curses. Second, in Second Kings, for example, 17 when it says this and this the defeat and exile occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them up out of Egypt from the land from under the hand of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and had feared other gods.

So the first is to show us the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant with the establishment of kingship and the house. The second explains why Israel went into exile. The third is to remind us again that the Mosaic covenant was always designed to be temporary and typological, pointing beyond itself to the new covenant with a new faithful king and a better covenant mediator. Solomon serves as the type of the first Adam. He was the human king in the dwelling place of God, the Eden temple with all wisdom and power, even knowing how to judge good and evil. The only thing to do was to obey the word of the Lord and he failed, thus corrupting the kingdom and leading it into exile. So we can see that Solomon is another Adamic figure who surrenders the kingdom and leads his people to exile because of sin and disobedience. 

In terms of date and authorship, like Joshua, Judges and Samuel, Kings is anonymous. But the date for the final composition of Kings would be approximately during the Babylonian exile, sometime between 562 and 560 BC, because it does not mention the fall of the Babylonian Empire, the rise of the Persian Empire, or the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC. So we're looking at a book written sometime in the mid-500s. 

If you look at your screen, we're looking now at the outline we previously considered in our Samuel lectures where Kings is considered a part of the Samuel Kings complex. So in the book of Samuel, we get the first four points, Samuel and Eli, Samuel and Saul, Samuel and David, and then David is the climax. Now we're coming back out where we have Solomon as the king in 1 Kings 1 to 11, the divided kingdom in 1 Kings 12 to 17, and then the southern kingdom remaining in 1 Kings 18 to 25. So again, David has the kingdom. He's the king of all of Israel, all the 12 tribes. Solomon has that as well. Solomon's sin is going to lead to the division of that kingdom. Ten northern tribes are going to go up and be led by another king. Solomon's successor is going to be the king of the two southern tribes. That's the divided kingdom that will play out through the remainder of the Book of Kings.

If you want just a generic outline of the Book of Kings, you can see it on your screen. The reign of Solomon will appear in 1 Kings 1 to 11. The divided kingdom of Israel and Judah in 1 Kings 12 to 2 Kings 17. You can see there's the ministry of Elijah, the ministry of Elisha, and the Assyrian exile. OK, then you have the kingdom of Judah and the Babylonian exile. Focusing on the life of Solomon, you can see that the life of Solomon appears in four different parts. There's an A, B, B, A pattern to it. And the two interior sides, the B and the B section, where you have Solomon's first and second 20 years. You can see that it climaxes with Solomon's building of a house in 1 Kings 5 to 8. But then Solomon's dividing of a house in 1 Kings 10 to 11. Right. Also, you'll see that the Lord appears to Solomon two times in the B sections. You can see that in B1, Yahweh appears to Solomon in that particular section. And then again in B1 prime, where Yahweh appears to Solomon. And the first one is that famous account where he asks for wisdom. And the second one is where the Lord warns him if he doesn't obey, he'll tear the kingdom from him. That's the life of Solomon. The life of Solomon, as the slide shows, is presented in four parts. Solomon is the promised offspring of David who would build Yahweh's house or temple. This is the greatest achievement and the climax of the second section of the narrative.

It is interesting to note that David's two major sins recorded in the book of Samuel, adultery with Bathsheba and the taking of the census that resulted in the death of 70,000 people, shape this account. Right. Because Solomon is the child of that union between David and Bathsheba. The location of the temple was purchased after the plague of the census ceased as a place to offer a sacrifice. There are two things we can make of this. This either shows the underlying corruption of the whole system or that God is pleased to work for our good, even amid our sin and folly, or perhaps both. That is, God is working amid human corruption to bring his kingdom about, his plan of fruition, even in the midst of our constantly getting in his way to do it. We cannot frustrate him. 

In this account, as I've already mentioned, the Lord appears twice to Solomon at the beginning of the second and third sections. In the first appearance, Solomon is granted any request he wants. Right. It's like Aladdin and the genie. He could have anything. And this is truly anything because this is Yahweh, the creator of heaven and earth. And he chooses wisdom, chooses wisdom.In first Kings 3:9, he says this. "Would you give your servant a heart to understand how to judge your people and how to discern between good and evil? For who can judge this people, this great people of yours?" 

In the second appearance, the Lord warned Solomon to remain faithful to the covenant and to obey the words of the Lord. Here's what it says in first Kings nine, verses four and following. "As for you, Solomon, if you walk before me as David, your father, walked with integrity of heart and uprightness that is not engaged in idolatry, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and rules, that I will establish a royal throne over Israel forever. As I promised David, your father, saying you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel. But if it turns out following me, you or your children and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I've set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I've given them and the house that I've consecrated for my name. I will cast out of my sight and Israel will become a byword and a proverb among all peoples and will become a heap of ruins." So, the first one is the request and the second one is the warning. And the warning that we get here in this second appearance is going to lead us into Solomon dividing the house of God.

In the end, we know from first Kings 10 and 11 that Solomon did not obey and most of the kingdom was torn away from him after he died. Remember the law of kingship in Deuteronomy. It says don't increase in wives, don't increase in horses, especially from Egypt, and don't have too much wealth. Well, if you've read the narrative, Solomon super increased in them all. He was Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Hugh Hefner all rolled into one guy. Listen to what it says here in first Kings 10:26. "And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities which were in Jerusalem. Solomon imported horses from Egypt and Kue. And the king's traders received them from Kue at a price. So, again, he got him from Egypt." Specifically, he was an ancient Eastern weapons dealer. Wealth. First Kings 10:23. "Thus, Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wealth. In fact, in one place, it will say that silver was like nothing in his kingdom." It's like finding a penny on the ground and you just kick it aside. Wives. Well, this is a famous text in first Kings 11:3. Solomon just didn't have a lot of wives. He had he had a lot of wives. First Kings 11:3 says he had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines. And his wives turned his heart away. Now, that was a specific warning also back in Deuteronomy. Don't have many wives because they'll turn your heart away.

And here we see that being fulfilled. If you want to know the difference between the 700 and 300, he has 700 wives who are princesses. Those would have been royal wives with whom he would have engaged in covenant relationships with our nation.

So he would have married a Moabite princess, an Edomite princess, or an Egyptian princess. His first wife was Egyptian. And by doing so, it would mean they would have good relations with those nations.So these were in some sense political marriages. The 300 concubines would have been the women that he just simply desired and wanted to be around because of their beauty. So that's how that would have worked. 

The result of Solomon's life and his decisions are accounted for in First Kings 11:6. Right after the account of his wives in First Kings 11:3, where it says, So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord as David his father had done.Now, this designation, Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, comes right out of the book of Judges. And it starts every major judge cycle. And the Israelites did that which is evil in the eyes of the Lord.And that goes back to Deuteronomy, which says you guys are going to do that which is evil in the eyes of the Lord. So the Lord is not surprised by this. He's planned for it.

After the death of Solomon in First Kings 11, the 10 northern tribes broke away from Judah, and Jeroboam son of Nebat was made king. Now, Jeroboam son of Nebat was one of Solomon's leading officials, just like David was one of Saul's leading officials. How Jeroboam becomes king is very much like how David became king in those relationships. 

Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, once he's made king, he does something horrific. He makes two golden calves. Remember Deuteronomy 32 to 34. And he puts one in Bethel and then one in Dan. And then he caused all the people to whore after these idols. So what he did is he put a golden calf at the top of the kingdom and a golden calf at the bottom of the kingdom so that all the northern tribes wouldn't have to go to Jerusalem and worship anymore. They're back at Exodus 32 to 34, the golden calf episode.

In the midst of this and after this, the ministry of Elijah and Elisha appear. And these are two prophets that minister to the northern parts of the nation, that is to the 10 tribes in the north.Amid Israel's sin, the Lord sent two miracle-working prophets to call God's people back to covenant faithfulness and to get rid of their idols and idolatry. Both prophets prepare God's people for the coming exile in interesting and unusual ways, not only by their words but also by their actions or their lives. Now, we don't have time to account for all the wonderful things in the Elisha and Elijah narratives.

You remember Elijah's famous battle with the prophets of Baal and Elisha's raising people from the dead or the floating axe hood or calling the bears on the boys who were mocking him, all kinds of stuff. But let me just say this, and you can go further with this in other places. The prophet Elijah, called by God, is going to prepare God's people for exile in this way. He's going to declare a drought in the land until the word of the Lord reveals otherwise. And he's going to go out of the land and live with a non-Israelite, provide for them in exile for those years. So that's a sign of his exile. And when he's in exile, that family is taken care of. At the end of that narrative in 1st Kings 17, the woman's son dies and Elijah raises him from the dead. That's his first great miracle. That's his first great miracle. 

When Elisha has a very similar ministry, and the very last thing about him is that when he dies, in 1st Kings 13, something interesting happens. And I'll just read it to you in 1st Kings 13:20 and 21."And so Elisha died and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year and a man was being buried. Behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha. And as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived himself on his feet." 

So here's what I want to say. Even that's a remarkable thing. We can talk more about it. 1st Kings 17 and 2 Kings 13 bracket the Elijah and Elisha narratives. And they're all about getting ready for exile. And Elijah is like a Moses figure and Elisha points more forward to what kind of Jesus miracles will be. But what the bookends tell you is that how God's people will ultimately return from exile is resurrection, is resurrection. And this is a theme that runs through the Bible a little bit in the book of Job. But look at how it plays out in even Daniel, who is a man living in exile and longing to go home. And Daniel's inquiring about how much longer until I go home. And the angel says to him in Daniel 12:13, "But as for you, Daniel, go your way to the end. And you shall rest, die, and then you shall stand, be resurrected in your allotted place at the end of the days." Throughout the Bible, beginning in chapter 3, the notion of exile is exile represents death. Just like clothing represents inherited sin, exile represents death because you've been taken out of God's presence. And that ultimately results in death. So the only way to experience a return from exile is not by coming back to a physical place, but by being resurrected into a new place. A new place. And that's how the Elijah and Elisha narratives prepare for that. 

So the book of Kings is the gospel promised beforehand. Solomon was the first offspring of David to build God's house and secure the rest of the land. A type of someone greater to come. Jesus is the ultimate seed of David who would come to build God's house and secure the rest of his people's inheritance. For example, it says this in Luke 11:31. "The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them. For she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and behold, something greater than Solomon is here." (Concerning Jesus.) And then in John 2:18 to 21, you'll remember this section. "So the Jews said to him, what sign do you show us for doing these things? And Jesus answered them, destroy this temple. And in three days, I will raise it up. The Jews said, then said, it has taken 46 years to build this temple and you will raise it up in three days. But he was speaking about the temple of his body." Revelation 21 and 22, John comments this way. "And I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God, the almighty and the lamb. So Jesus is the true and better Solomon, the true and better king.

He's the true and better temple. He's the faithful and righteous king who obeyed his father perfectly. He was exiled in death so that we could return home with him in the resurrection.

This is the Book of Kings.