The Old Testament | The Books of History

1 Kings

Things to know
Where does the book begin?

The book begins just before David died. The story starts where 2 Samuel ends.

Where does the book end?

The book ends with the last days of the rule of a bad king named Ahaziah.

People to know


Places to go

David made Solomon King.
1 Kings 1

Solomon asked God to make him wise.
1 Kings 3

Solomon prayed to open the temple*.
1 Kings 8

The kingdom* broke.
1 Kings 12

Elijah stood against the false prophets*.
1 Kings 18

The Story of 1 Kings

The book of 1 Kings picks up where 2 Samuel stops. The book begins with the story about the last days of David. David was very old. He had many sons. And two of them wanted to be the next king. One of his sons was named Adonijah. He decided he would make himself king. He did not tell David. Many people followed Adonijah at first. But God and David had a different plan. David chose his son Solomon to be the next king instead.[1]The first part of the book tells the story of how that happened. The book of 1 Kings is the story of what happened in Israel* after David died.

When Solomon first became king, he followed the ways of his father. He asked God for wisdom. He made the nation strong. He built the temple*. It seemed that he could be the kind of king that God promised to David. And Solomon did well at the start. The stories in the first part of the book are good. The way the writer tells the story makes us think that Solomon was the son God promised. Solomon even saw himself in that way.[2] But, soon, we learn that Solomon was not the king that God promised.

God told Solomon to build a temple*. And God told Solomon how he must live.  

‘You are now building this temple*. Follow my orders. Keep my rules. Obey all of my commands. Then I will make the promise I gave your father David come true. I will do it through you.’[3]

But we soon see that Solomon did not do these things. Many times in the story, Solomon did not follow the way that God gave him.  He did not make people follow God’s commands. He let the people break God’s commands.

In many ways, Solomon was a skilful king. He was wise. He had a strong army. He was generous. But he did not follow the ways of God. Soon, the people became unhappy. So, when Solomon died, his kingdom* was divided. His son was not so wise as Solomon. He made foolish choices. Because of this, the people in the north broke away. They started their own kingdom*. They chose their own king.  They turned away and did not follow a king from David’s family. The kingdom* in the north kept the name Israel*. They chose Jeroboam to be their king. The kingdom* in the south took the name Judah. They chose Rehoboam to be their king.[4] There were many other kings after these kings. But none of the kings of the north were from David’s family.

The rest of the book tells the stories of the kings of Israel* and Judah. None of the kings of Israel* followed God. They led the people to follow false gods and do many evil* things. God was not pleased with them. But God wanted the people to return to him. So God sent men called prophets* to speak to the wicked kings. Elijah was the main prophet* in these stories. He was very brave. He spoke for God with authority. God even gave Elijah power to do miracles*.[5] But the people did not come back to God. Many of the stories in 1 Kings tell how Elijah spoke for God.

When the book ends, we know that none of the kings we read about were the king that God promised to David.[6]

  • [1] 1 Kings 1:29-30
  • [2] 1 Kings 5:4-5
  • [3] 1 Kings 6:12-13
  • [4] 1 Kings 12:19-20
  • [5] 1 Kings 18:20-40
  • [6] 1 Samuel 7:12-16

The Old Testament | The Books of History