1st Samuel is a story of Narrative History and includes a great deal of Drama. It is written by the last of the Judges for which the book is named, Samuel. It was written at about 930 B.C. Key personalities include Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David. It was written to show Israel how they chose a king but in the process, they blatantly neglected and abandoned God. • In chapters 1-7, Samuel is born to Hannah as a Nazarite, dedicate to God. Soon after, Samuel was brought to the tabernacle to serve God. During this time, the Israelites are in a vicious battle with the Philistines and they lose the Ark of the Covenant, which is captured by the Philistines. Struck down by deadly plagues, the Philistine are happy to return it to the rightful owner in an oxcart pulled by two cows. • From chapters 8-15, the Israelites select, who they believe, will be a great king. Samuel anoints Saul to be king and although things go well at first, as usual, trouble looms in the near future. Due to continuous bad decisions and direct disobedience to God’s will, Samuel informs Saul that God has rejected him as the rightful King. • In Chapters 16-31, God selects His King who is David, and he is called, “a man after God’s own heart” (13:14). Samuel anoints David as a young boy, and several years later stands up to a Philistine giant in front of both the armies of the Israelites and Philistines. With God as his protector, David drops the oversized soldier with one simple stone claiming victory for Israel and displaying true leadership. Saul, eaten away by envy and jealousy and driven by hate, begins to pursue David in fear of losing his throne. Although David could have easily taken his life twice, he respected his king in a Godly manner. In the end, Saul tragically takes his own life while losing on the battlefield.
The book of 2nd Samuel is a Narration of David as he becomes the King of Israel and the time during his reign, yet it also includes two psalms in hymns of praise in the final chapters. Its author is Samuel the prophet who wrote it at about 930 B.C. The key personalities are David, Joab, Bathsheba, Nathan, and Absalom. It was written to record the history of David’s reign and to demonstrate effective leadership under the submission of God. Approximately half of the book tells of King David’s success and the other half shows his failures. • In chapters 1-10, we find that David becomes the king of Judah while the Northern part of the nation (Israel) rejects God and chooses to go with the dynastic tradition, by selecting Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to rule. Ish-Bosheth eventually was executed and the northern tribes asked David to rule the entire nation of Israel. King David chooses to establish a new capital, Jerusalem, and through a tragic process, brings the Ark there. • In chapters 11-24, we observe the sinful side of King David during his reign, and how it affected the nation of Israel. First, David commits adultery with a married woman named Bathsheba and she becomes pregnant. Afterward, he has her husband murdered in an attempt to repair things. The prophet Nathan confronts him and David repents and soon after the child dies. Bathsheba later gives birth to Solomon, who will be the next king of Israel. Absalom, David’s other son, plots a rebellious takeover and the nation approves. David flees for his life, yet ultimately raises enough troops and strong backing to take back his seat and restore order; in the process, his rebellious son was killed.
The book of 1st Kings is Narrative History and Prophecy. The author is anonymous; however, some suggest the prophet, Jeremiah. It was written about 560-538 B.C. The key personalities are David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Elijah, Ahab, and Jezebel. The purpose of 1st Kings is to contrast those who obey and disobey God throughout the ruling kings of Israel and Judah. The book describes the rule of Solomon as the last king of Israel and then the split of the kingdom after his death. It includes a great prayer to the Lord in chapter 8. The writer of the books of Kings describes the events of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms after the division. In chapters 1-11, Solomon becomes the king, in a violent method, after his father David dies. David instructs Solomon to “walk in His (God’s) ways” (2:3). Solomon asks God for wisdom and God is pleased at this request and approves. Solomon begins a building production, which included the temple that his father David desired and prepared for him to do. He began building the temple 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt. Seven years later, the Ark was brought to the temple, the glory of the Lord descended on it, Solomon prays a powerful prayer, and then sacrifices were offered. Solomon although the wisest king ever, does not so wise things and begins to worship the gods of his wives and is subdued by his lust for women. His downfall was looming and he died shortly thereafter. • Chapters 12-22 show the beginning of the end of the united kingdom of Israel. The nation, with tough decisions to make, chooses a wrong one. In 931 B.C., the kingdom splits in two: North and South. Rehoboam inherits the kingdom and is persistent about enforcing high taxes. The Northern tribes begin a revolt and Jeroboam is crowned king of Israel. Ten tribes became the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin became the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God raises up his prophet Elijah to warn evil king Ahab to turn from idol worship and to return to the YHWH.
The book of 2nd Kings is Narrative History and Prophecy concerning the affairs of the divided kingdoms. The author is anonymous; however, some suggest the prophet, Jeremiah. It was written about 560-538 B.C. Key personalities are many; they include Elijah, Elisha, the woman from Shunem, Naaman, Jezebel, Jehu, Joash, Hezekiah, Sennacherib, Isaiah, Manasseh, Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Nebuchadnezzar. Its purpose was to demonstrate the value of those who obey God and the fate of those who refuse to obey and make Him the ultimate ruler. In this book, God performs amazing miracles through his prophets as He sends these messengers to herald His messages. The two kingdoms are far from the Lord and lost in the monotonous confusion of their sins. God’s prophets bring the only hope to this lost yet, chosen nation. • In chapters 1-17, we read of the rulers of the divided kingdoms who lead them to their fate in exile. The prophet Elijah concludes his ministry and hands over the reins to another up and coming prophet who God will use named Elisha. Elisha is an apprentice of sorts and follows Elijah as he follows God’s lead. God took Elijah in a whirlwind to heaven and the apprentice asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and it was granted to him (2:9). In Elisha’s ministry, he carries out twice as many miracles, like Elijah, as God does His will through his prophet. We also find in these chapters, details about kings and dynasties, which ultimately disobey and ignore God’s orders and provisions. Finally, during the reign of the last evil king, Hoshea, the Assyrians take the Northern Kingdom into captivity. They have neglected the warning and coming judgment announced by the prophet Hosea. It is fitting that the eviler of the two kingdoms (Northern Kingdom) is the kingdom that goes into permanent captivity. There is no record or evidence of these 10 tribes of Israel ever returning from exile. • In chapters 18-25, it is apparent that the Southern Kingdom is not doing much better, and soon would also face God’s judgment. “Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets, However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God” (17:13-14).