Rebecca Van Noord
Violent power swings characterize the monarchy after Israel is divided into two nations. The peace, prosperity and military might of Solomon’s reign are replaced with tales of murder, conspiracy and power struggle. However, Israel’s and Judah’s rebellion is not against flesh and blood. Kings and kingdoms are weighed in the balance of “the eyes of the Lord” and most often, they are found wanting.
Israel and Judah march slowly toward exile despite the promises and warnings of the prophets. Led by disobedient kings, they mix Yahweh worship with metal, image and foreign god. Soon, they forget what loyalty to Yahweh even entails. So God punishes them—stripping them of their identity as a nation.
From exile, the writer of 1-2 Kings reflects on the rise and fall of kings and nations. He justifies Yahweh’s ways to a forgetful people as they live out the words of Solomon’s prayer: “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, yet … if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart … then hear in heaven your dwelling place … and forgive your people” (1 Kgs 8:46–49 ESV).
Kings is proof of God’s long-suffering nature. It shows that He pursues His people, even when they don’t always pursue Him back. Ultimately, He remembers His people by providing a way out of captivity—through His Son.