The book I Kings opens, as one might expect, with a succession
struggle even before the death of King David. This was resolved
in favour of Solomon, David's son by Bethsheba.
I Kings 2.vv.1-4, and vv.10-12
Solomon made a promising start to his reign, as his recorded dream
I Kings 3.vv.3-29
Solomon gained a great reputation for wisdom among his own and
neighbouring peoples, but his astuteness in judgement was offset
by his tendency to adopt some of the idolatrous practices of neighbouring
peoples and a luxurious life style - sins which the Chronicler
of his own days and later generations accounted an offence to
God and man. The greatest achievement of Solomon was the building
of the Temple in Jerusalem.
I Kings 5.vv.1-18 and 6.v.1, vv.11-14
At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon is represented as offering
up a prayer containing wonderful religious insights into God's
nature and His ways with mankind.
I Kings 8.vv.27-34, and vv.41-61
The religious and secular offences of Solomon culminated in a
division within the nation of Israel, with increasing animosity
between 'Israel' in the north and 'Judah' (Jerusalem) in the south.
I Kings 11.vv.26-43, and 12.vv.1-20
At this point the detailed histories of 'Israel' and 'Judah' are omitted, because they are concerned mainly with power struggles, civil wars, antipathy between the north and south and religious offences such as can be found in any secular or religious history.
In chapter 17, however, we encounter a new dimension in Israel's
religion, namely the rise of the great PROPHETS who in
their relationship with God, with the royal household and with
the common people wielded immense political and religious influence
and are honoured as those who spoke out for God and the true faith
of the Old and New Testaments.
I Kings 16.v.29 to 19.v.16
Elijah in his opposition to Ahab and Jezebel won a great victory for the true faith on Mount Carmel. In another confrontation with the royal house, he was destined to rebuke the king in God's name and to predict the death of Jezebel.
The book I Kings closes with the prophet established as a power
to be reckoned with in the affairs of the nation, speaking out
for God and rebuking without fear or favour all who transgressed
I Kings 21.vv.1-20