1 Kings

Book summary

1 Kings continues the history of the kings of God’s people, following immediately on from 2 Samuel as David’s reign comes to an end. From the heights of King David’s rule we see the continued decline of God’s people towards their eventual exile.

The book can be looked at in two halves. The first half is the reign of Solomon, one of David’s sons. The second half covers the Division of Israel into the southern Kingdom of Judah and the northern Kingdom of Israel.

Chapters 1-11 — Solomon, the last king of a united kingdom

Ch 1-2 — Solomon succeeds his father David

  • [King David said:] There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.” (1 Kings 1:34-35)

Ch 3-4 — Solomon’s wisdom

  • [Solomon asked God for a discerning heart.] The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. (1 Kings 3:10-12)

  • From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:34)

Ch 5-10 — Solomon’s success and fame

Ch 5-8 — Construction of the temple and palace
  • “The Lord has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.” (1 Kings 8:20-21)

Ch 9:1-9 - The Lord appears to Solomon
  • [God said to Solomon:] “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever… But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name.” (1 Kings 9:4-7)

Ch 9:10 to 10:29 — Solomon’s riches and fame
  • Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift — articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. (1 Kings 10:25)

Ch 11 — Solomon’s downfall and death

  • King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter — Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. (1 Kings 11:1-2)

  • [Solomon’s wives turned his heart towards other gods.] He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. (1 Kings 11:5-6)

Chapters 12-22 — Israel divides in two

Rehoboam and Jeroboam I

  • [Rehoboam, like his father Solomon and grand-father David, was from the tribe of Judah.]

  • [Jeroboam was from the tribe of Ephraim.]

  • When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin — a hundred and eighty thousand able young men — to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon. (1 Kings 12:20-21)

Kings of Israel and Judah






Jeroboam I


Evil. Both worship false gods.



Evil. Rehoboam’s son & war between them.


Good. Abijah’s son. Destroyed idols.


Evil. Jeroboam’s son.


Evil. Killed Jeroboam’s whole family.



Evil. Baasha’s son.


Evil. Elah’s commander. Murdered Elah.


Evil. Zimri’s commander. Attacked Zimri.



Evil. Omri’s son. See Ahab and Elijah



Good. Asa’s son.


Evil. Ahab’s son. Worshiped Baal.

Ahab and Elijah

Ch 16:29-34 — Ahab becomes king of Judah
  • Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. (1 Kings 16:30-33)

Ch 17:1-6 — Elijah announces a great drought
  • Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1)

Ch 17:7-24 — Elijah and the widow at Zarephath
  • Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. (1 Kings 17:20-22)

Ch 18:1-15 — Elijah and Obadiah
  • Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) (1 Kings 18:2-4)

Ch 18:16-46 — Elijah at Mount Carmel
  • Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire — he is God.” (1 Kings 18:22-24)

  • Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord — he is God! The Lord — he is God!” Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. (1 Kings 18:38-40)

Ch 19 — Elijah and Elisha
  • Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.” (1 Kings 19:13-16)

Ch 20-22 — Prophecies against Ahab are fulfilled
  • So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle… But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” (1 Kings 22:30,34)