1 Kings

1 Kings - Lesson 1A

Chapter 1:1-10

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  • Today we begin a new verse-by-verse study through the book of 1 Kings.

    • To some this study may be new territory of biblical narrative, however, if you have studied 2 Samuel with us, this book is simply a continuation.

      • The book of Kings (1 and 2 Kings) is what scholars consider a continuing narrative of 2 Samuel following the Davidic lineage to Solomon.

    • Within this study, we will be covering 1 Kings and will tackle 2 Kings later.

      • However, as we use today’s lesson to establish background and context, you will see that the story line of Israel’s King and kingdom thickens.

    • Old Testament books are oftentimes overlooked or avoided due to the breath of history that it entails.

      • Some overlook the Old Testament in its entirety as if the Hebrew Bible is not a part of scripture.

    • As I often say, the New Testament writers depended heavily upon the Old Testament to express the theological realities of our faith in Christ.

      • Therefore, the Old Testament, in its fullness, is necessary to understand and grow in our faith and maturity in Christ.

      • Therefore, we should desire to lean into narratives such as 1 and 2 Kings which provides biblical principles by which we can apply to our life.

    • As a matter of fact, this is what Paul says about the necessity of the entirety of scripture, which includes the Old Testament.

      • He says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2 Timothy 3:17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
  • So, although, Old Testament texts such as 1/2 Kings deal heavily with Jewish history and tradition regarding Israel as a whole, understand that our Christian faith centers upon a Jewish Messiah – Jesus Christ.

    • Therefore, it would behoove us to grow in our understanding of Jewish history and God’s storyline so that we see how He faithfully deals in human history.

    • And what we will come to find in our time through this book is that God’s ways and word does not change.

    • Most importantly there is blessing and satisfaction that comes from God.

    • To begin, we need to know where we are in the overarching narrative of scripture. So here is an overview of Old Testament history in graphic form. (See slides)

      • The star is going to indicate where we pick up in the storyline of scripture.

    • I mentioned at the start of the lesson that the book of Kings is considered a continuation of 2 Samuel.

      • 2 Samuel, if you remember ended with King David building an alter after having repented for taking a census.

    • The issue was not that a census was taken, but rather pride arose in David’s heart.

      • David saw the prosperity in which Israel had attained over the years.

    • Israel was a nation that was becoming known for who they were, but most importantly, who’s they were.

      • This was the Nation in which served the Living God – Yahweh.

    • It was Yahweh who had provided victory after victory for the King and the Nation.

      • But the moment that David got beside himself and looked to the number of his army for strength and security it caused the anger of the Lord to rise.

    • This pattern of disobedience and lack of loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord is an ongoing pattern that Israel faced time and again. (Exodus, Deut., Joshua, Judges…)

      • As a matter of fact, one of the stipulations that was in the Torah for the Kings of Israel was a commitment to covenant faithfulness.

    • In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, Moses is given instruction by the Lord to outline a second time for the next generation, terms in which they were to abide by.

      • So as the new generation was preparing to go into the Land in which the Lord was giving them, their success was determined by their obedience.

      • And in the same way, the first generation’s failure to enter the land and discipline overall was indicative of their lack of obedience and trust.

    • As the saying goes, “As the King goes, so goes the people”.

      • Therefore, if the King does not obey, the Nation will suffer.

      • Here is what God required from His King according to Torah, which was different from other surrounding secular nations:

Deut.17:14 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’
Deut.17:15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.
Deut.17:16 “Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’
Deut.17:17 “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.
Deut.17:18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.
Deut.17:19 “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,
Deut.17:20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
  • The Lord makes clear here the terms and conditions for Israel’s King in Moses’ second giving of the Law (Deuteronomy).

    • And one of the conditions is that when the people enter the Land that it would be the Lord who would set the King – not the people.

      • Here is a quick summary list of the Laws concerning Israel’s King according to Deuteronomy: (Refer to slides)

    • We know that it was in 1 Samuel 8:5 that Israel demanded a king for themselves.

      • So instead of the Lord ruling over them (theocracy), they wanted a human agent that mimicked the surrounding nations. (Monarchy)

    • However, what becomes evident in the storyline of scripture is that God already had in mind who this human king would be and through what lineage.

      • For it was in Genesis 49:10 that Jacob (Israel), by God’s election, establishes the tribe of Judah by which Israel’s future King comes from.

Gen. 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
  • Following the timeline of scripture, it leads us from Joshua (dealing with the conquest of Israel) to Judges (the cycles of sin in the land) due to rebellion against God. (Story of Ruth sets up the lineage from which David comes)

    • So, because of the people’s insistence and rejection of the Lord’s command and rule over time, up to the point of choosing a King, God gives them a King from the tribe of Benjamin. (1 Samuel)

    • This theme of Israel’s disobedience towards God’s word and their personal pride becomes a common thread throughout the book of Kings and human history.

      • That where there is a lack of obedience to God’s word and covenant faithfulness, it only leads to great demise and judgement.

      • However, despite the failures of men, because of God’s covenant with Israel, He remains faithful to Himself and His promises.

    • The two covenants which become of great importance especially within the Kings’ narrative is the Abrahamic Covenant and the Davidic Covenant.

      • The Abrahamic covenant, given in Genesis 12:1-13, speaks to three things: Land, Seed, and blessing.

      • And the Davidic covenant speaks to God’s promise to His elected King over Israel and His promise regarding David’s eternal descendant.

      • And the promise of the Davidic covenant dealt with an eternal house, an eternal kingdom, and an eternal throne.

    • And where these two covenants intertwine is dealing with “the seed promise”.

      • The seed promise dealt specifically with how God’s restorative and redemptive purposes would be accomplished in creation.

      • And this restorative/redemptive purpose required a Jewish seed, from the Tribe of Judah and from the line of David.

    • So isn’t it quite a powerful reality that in Matthew’s gospel as he goes through Jesus’ lineage, that he mentions this detail in Matthew 1:1-2.

Matthew 1:1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Matthew 1:2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
  • Furthermore, a complete read from Matthew 1:1-17 helps one see how God’s Messiah through lineage, links to Jesus Christ.

    • Therefore, when one considers the history of Israel, more specifically the Southern Kingdom of Judah, one must consider God’s Covenant promises.

      • And what we will see through the narrative of 1 and 2 Kings is how despite the failures and downfall of the Kings, God remains faithful.

      • But before we get to that, let's begin with a bit of background on the book itself, starting with the author.

  • Although the writer of Kings is unknown, there is some evidence supported by the Talmudic tradition suggesting it was written by the prophet Jeremiah.

    • Other scholars suggest Ezra or Ezekiel wrote the Kings because of the date of composition.

      • Being that both these men were inspired writers that lived after the Babylonian exile, they are considered potential candidates.

    • But whatever the case, whoever wrote 1 and 2 Kings had a historical and covenantal understanding of the nation as a whole.

      • It is suggested that the Kings was composed somewhere between 560 and 538 BC.

    • Whoever wrote The Kings understood that this was a record of Israel’s disobedience, idolatry, and ungodliness towards Yahweh.

      • I find it quite interesting that where 2 Samuel ends is where 1 Kings begins.

    • Because the ending of 2 Samuel focuses on repentance and dependence on the Lord.

      • And 1 Kings begins with David still in power but at the very end of his life.

    • As we work through 1 and 2 Kings, we will discover that the success and prosperity of the Nation of Israel hinges on the King’s faithfulness to the Torah.

      • God is serious about His word, and He expects His King and Nation to uphold the covenant accordingly.

      • Because the moment they allow their hearts to rule them instead of God’s word, it leads to devastation.

    • Unfortunately, this reality will be seen in Solomon’s ruling. He begins with great wisdom and strength.

      • Yet, as time goes along, Solomon’s heart becomes divided because of the influence of his foreign wives – something the Law forbid.

    • The rise and fall of David’s son, Solomon, sets the book divide in which we will see a united kingdom in part 1 and a divided kingdom in part 2.

      • And what becomes quite comical is that the behavior of the human heart is quite consistent.

      • This is something that King David, in his old age tries to warn his son about.

      • Check out how David instructs Solomon before he dies in 1 Kings 2:1-4.

1 Kings 2:1 As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying,
1 Kings 2:2 “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.
1 Kings 2:3 “Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,
1 Kings 2:4 so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
  • Understand, David had walked with the Lord as King for 40 years and during that time would have understood the significance of obedience.

    • David had made his fair share of mistakes and faults as King, but one thing that remained steady was David’s heart of repentance.

    • The very words of endearment that David shares with Solomon are quite similar to the instructions Moses and Joshua received.

      • The point being that obedience and success comes from the Lord.

    • And as we read earlier in Deuteronomy 17, there were certain terms and conditions that were to be met for the success of the King and the Nation.

      • And as our study continues to unfold, we will see that Solomon begins with the Lord at the forefront of his focus.

      • Yet over time, (Chapter 11), we find that Solomon’s attention gets “pulled away”.

      • Observe in 1 Kings 11:1-4, what the cause of this “pulling away” was:

1 Kings 11:1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,
1 Kings 11:2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.
1 Kings 11:3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.
1 Kings 11:4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
  • What we will find in our study is that God desires his King and people to obey His command.

    • As we work through the entirety of the Kings, I want you to keep 4 things in the back of your mind regarding biblical principles to be applied:

      • 1. Man cannot properly rule himself without proper reliance and dependence on God.

      • 2. We cannot forge a society or culture of peace apart from the submission of a Holy God and our God has established a rightful ruler who will come again and reign in true justice, power, and peace.

      • 3. The kings of Israel shed light into the very people as a whole. Just as the kings reject the prophecy of the prophets, so the people reject the instructions of God. (God-less society)

      • 4. We await Jesus Christ in His Second Coming where He will rule and reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem over all nations.

    • With that being said, let’s begin our study tonight and pick up on King David who is now old in age in the last days of life.

      • Pick me up in 1 Kings 1:1-4.

1 Kings 1:1 Now King David was old, advanced in age; and they covered him with clothes, but he could not keep warm.
1 Kings 1:2 So his servants said to him, “Let them seek a young virgin for my lord the king, and let her attend the king and become his nurse; and let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may keep warm.”
1 Kings 1:3 So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
1 Kings 1:4 The girl was very beautiful; and she became the king’s nurse and served him, but the king did not cohabit with her.
  • David is now 70 years of age at this point in the narrative.

    • We know he was 70 years old because 2 Samuel 5:4 tells us that David began ruling over a united Israel at 30 years old.

      • And being that he ruled as king for forty years, simple math brings us to the number 70.

    • The text reveals that David is no longer able to maintain his own body heat even with additional clothing.

      • So, to remedy the issue, David’s servants seek out a young woman who could lay next to the king to keep him warm.

    • The text mentions a beautiful young Shunamite woman named Abishag who will serve as a nurse to David.

      • Now, at first read, the tendency is to run to the assumption that David did more than simply ‘seek warmth’.

    • However, 1 Kings 1:4b tells us that David “did not cohabit with her.”

      • Literally, the text reads, “the king did not know her” simply meaning David did not have sexual relations with her.

    • Although this method of care is unusual to those in the west, this type of medical practice was familiar in the east.

      • Josephus confirms the medical practice of young virgin women caring for royalty.

      • For it was typical in that day for unmarried women, free from household responsibilities and children, to meet the needs of the King.

    • So, knowing that David did not make a move on Abishag further affirms his physical weakness which unveils the vulnerability of the throne.

      • And right when you think that David would be able to rest in peace to pass on the crown, in comes the drama.

      • Check out verses 5-8.

1 Kings 1:5 Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him.
1 Kings 1:6 His father had never crossed him at any time by asking, “Why have you done so?” And he was also a very handsome man, and he was born after Absalom.
1 Kings 1:7 He had conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and following Adonijah they helped him.
1 Kings 1:8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.
  • Knowing that David was coming to the end of his life and that the throne was vulnerable, David’s fourth son (eldest of the brothers at this point), Adonijah decides that he was next in line to be king.

    • Here is a vulnerable moment now being seized by an opportunistic child.

      • This situation sounds a bit familiar, because it was in 2 Samuel 15-17 that another one of David’s sons tried to take a grab at the throne.

    • Absalom started a coup to usurp the throne while his father was strong and able-body and now here is Adonijah doing the same while his father is feeble.

      • It doesn’t make it any better when you understand what Adonijah’s name means. It means “my Lord is Yahweh”.

      • So, it becomes clear that the driving factor of Adonijah’s decision making is not God's but rather his own.

    • As we read in Deuteronomy, the choice of king was not a matter of self-appointment but of divine election.

      • Yet, verse 5a makes known that Adonijah “exalted himself”.

      • He didn’t seek the counsel of the Lord nor was he sought after by the prophet of the Lord.

    • And what a danger that becomes, even today.

      • That rather than seeking the timing of God for certain matters, we acquiesce to our own plans.

      • So Adonijah, filled with pride, says that he will be king and in doing so prepares for himself chariots and horsemen with an entourage.

    • Normally, a king would ride upon a donkey for formal inaugurations because riding upon a horse signified war not peace.

      • So, this moment becomes yet another indication of the heart gone awry – and a play out of Absalom’s playbook.

    • What should grab our attention at this point in the text is verse 6 because clearly the Holy Spirit has something to say about David in this matter as well.

      • Notice verse 6 says, “His father (David) had never “crossed” him at any time".

      • That word “crossed” in Hebrew means to rebuke, to pain.

    • The type of rebuke or pain here is dealing with discipline or training in behavior as in the raising of children.

      • In other words, David’s lack of discipline of his children and withholding certain things from them becomes a painful yet revealing point in this coup.

      • It is to suggest that this child was entitled and got what he wanted and in turn, now with dad being down, “I get things my way”.

    • So, because of David’s lack of discipline toward child number four, Adonijah has not only gone against David’s will, but he has gone against God.

      • Therefore this will be addressed – and we will see that further down the line.

      • Where did the pride settle in for Adonijah, becomes a question to be asked.

    • Adonijah, although handsome and born after Absalom, assumed that he would be next in line.

      • However, as we have seen the Lord work throughout scripture time and again, the Lord examines the heart not the exterior.

      • Verses 7-8 provide some contrasting reactions as it relates to those who will either side with Adonijah or stand opposed to this rebellion.

    • Notice who is first mentioned in siding with Adonijah and his coup – none other than Joab.

      • This shouldn’t surprise us in the least bit because as we witnessed in 2 Samuel, Joab is quite impulsive.

      • Abiathar the priest is also caught in the web of deceit, because as one could imagine, with Adonijah setting himself as king, some would assume David confirmed this.

    • However, nowhere does the text mention that Joab or Abiathar confirmed this “alleged” selection of Adonijah as king.

      • One could infer that those in whom Adonijah were gathering were like minded in motive or self-preserving.

    • For Joab, it would allow him to retain control militarily, therefore staying in power.

      • And for Abiather, he would retain his position as priest – something that was potentially at risk of being removed if Solomon took reign.

      • And we will see why this detail is significant later.

    • Notice, in verse 8 the other group of men who demonstrate faithfulness to David.

      • These men were Zadok the priest, Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David.

    • Zadok the priest joined David at Hebron following the death of Saul which is documented in 1 Chronicles 12:28.

      • Zadok served David loyally and became quite favored in David’s Royal Administration.

      • Benaiah was one of the men listed in David’s list of mighty men towards the end of 2 Samuel (2 Samuel 23:20-23).

    • Nathan the prophet is included in the loyalist group and his appearing is quite significant.

      • On one hand, he served David faithfully and communicated God’s word to David – especially on two particular occasions.

        • The first message that Nathan gave David was the promise of what we know as the Davidic covenant.

          • This is where the Lord promised David an eternal throne, eternal house, and eternal Kingdom.

        • The second most important word from the Lord was Nathan’s rebuke of David.

  • This rebuke was in response to David having Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband killed.

    • David is given a peculiar story by Nathan describing an evil done against a man due to the lusting of his flesh.

      • In David hearing this story, he becomes enraged at the injustice done and demands that restitution be made.

      • However, it was in the midst of David’s outrage at what was done that Nathan tells David, the man I’m describing is you (David).

      • Check out the dialogue between Nathan and David in 2 Samuel 12:7-15.

2 Samuel 12:7 Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
2 Samuel 12:8 ‘I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!
2 Samuel 12:9 ‘Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
2 Samuel 12:10 ‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
2 Samuel 12:11 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
2 Samuel 12:12 ‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’ ”
2 Samuel 12:13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
2 Samuel 12:14 “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
2 Samuel 12:15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.
  • The very statement in verse 11 comes to fruition by means of Absolam’s rebellion and him raping his father’s concubine for all to hear about.

    • So, if there was one who knew David and cared for his best interest especially that of the throne, it would be Nathan.

  • Lastly, we see Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men. Shimei becomes another interesting yet loyal ally.

    • This Shimei is the same man who in 2 Samuel 16:5-13 cursed David to his face.

      • In few short words, Shimei told David, “You got what you deserved having Absalom usurp the throne.”

      • This was a spit in the face!

    • However, this was the same man who after Absalom was killed by Joab, in embarrassment and humility, seeks the king's forgiveness and grace. (2 Samuel 19:16-23)

      • We will see in Chapter 2 that Shimei’s loyalty to David at this point was simply “a means to get by”.

    • And what an interesting piece of information that is because what it reveals is that true intentions in the end will always come to light.

  • We often think that those with ill-intention or impure motives get away with everything.

    • Yet what we find to be true in scripture is that the wicked always ends in devastation.

      • The Psalters record it this way:

Psalm 1:6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.
  • So, although it may not happen in our desired timing, rest assured that the Lord is Sovereign and knows their end.

    • The plans of the wicked always are concocted in the dark or in concealed places.

    • And indeed, this is what is unfolding with Adonijah. Check out our last 2 verses for the night, verses 9-10.

1 Kings 1:9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fatlings by the stone of Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel; and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants.
1 Kings 1:10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, and Solomon his brother.
  • So, in full pursuit of this coup, Adonijah prepares a celebration of sorts south of the city and invites his brothers, the men of Judah and the king's servants.

    • These would have been men who weren’t firm allies to David and Solomon.

    • This feast served as a pledge of their loyal allegiance to Adonijah, not the King.

      • This meal was binding, meaning that the breaking of bread was conspiring and therefore deemed treasonous.

    • Notice in verse 10 who was not invited – Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, and Solomon, his brother.

      • Clearly, something fishy was going on and the key men that Adonijah suspected would cause trouble were not invited.

      • And this reality serves as a warning of sorts – that what goes on in the dark has to eventually come to light!

  • It’s like the party that you don’t get invited to yet you hear all about it and in the end you’re thankful you didn’t get invited after all – it wasn’t what you expected!

    • And it wouldn’t be long before these men got whiff of what was transpiring behind David’s back.

      • Next week, we will finish chapter one as we move towards this uprising of rebellion that is once again plaguing a united Israel.

      • Let's Pray.