1 and 2 Kings

Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics

1 and 2 Kings

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After the death of David (1 Kgs. 2: 10) Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, succeeded to his father's throne and executed the terms of David's last will and testament (1 Kgs. 2: 1–9). Thus David's reign ended as it began, in bloodshed. Solomon is represented in the narratives in religious terms as the builder of the great temple of YHWH in Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 5–8) and in others as the lover of many women (1 Kgs. 11: 1–8)—he is traditionally credited with having written the Song of Songs. At his death the kingdom of David split up into its two original parts: Judah and Israel (see above, p. 341). Henceforth some modern scholars suspect that we are reading Judaean propaganda from a later period. The story of the kings of Israel and Judah as narrated in the Books of Kings focuses principally on prophets. While various individual prophets appear in Kings, from Nathan (1 Kgs. 1) to Huldah (2 Kgs. 22), the major narratives on the prophets relate to the prophets Elijah and Elisha (1 Kgs. 17–2 Kgs. 13). These prophets are shown as champions of YHWH in a cultural conflict with the supporters of Baal, the Canaanite God. The climax of this struggle is a great sacrifice competition between Elijah, YHWH's champion, and the prophets of Baal, supported by King Ahab and his foreign wife, Jezebel, from the Philistine city of Tyre (1 Kgs. 18). Jezebel is presented as the classic wicked woman: her name has passed into the English language as a synonym for a ‘shameless, scheming hussy’. Her conflict with Elijah takes on almost ritual dimensions as they hurl abuse at each other from safe distances.

Chapter.  1742 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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