The books of 1st and 2nd Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible, and they continue the history of the people of Israel. They start where 2nd Samuel leaves off with the end of King David's reign. They start with the last days of King David's life and the accession of his son Solomon to the throne of the United Kingdom. They also give us details of King Solomon's reign. Within the books of 1st and 2nd Kings, we see the end of the United Kingdom, and the beginning of a divided Israel after Solomon's death, with the revolt of Jeroboam and his ten tribes during the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon's son. Initially the twelve tribes, Ephraim, Gad, Dan, Reuben, Judah, Simeon, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Naphtali and Asher were united under the three kings Saul, David and Solomon. However, Solomon in his older days, turned his heart away from the Lord and toward idols. Solomon was led astray by his many pagan wives, which were also a violation of the commandments of the Lord. However, because of King David's heart for the Lord, God promised not to take the kingdom away from Solomon, but from Solomon's son Rehoboam.
Solomon's building programs and expansionist policies led to a heavy tax load on the people, which his son Rehoboam had refused to change despite the advice of the older men, who were King Solomon's advisors. Instead, Rehoboam listens to his young friends and tries to impose an even stiffer and more severe tax load on the people. This resulted in a revolt led by a man named Jeroboam. God had used these circumstances to tear the kingdom away from Rehoboam because of Solomon's sin and Rehoboam's hard heart against God. Jeroboam took ten of the twelve tribes and started the Northern Kingdom, which retained the name Israel, Jeroboam also made the city of Samaria their capital. While Rehoboam, Solomon's son, maintained kingship over the largest tribe which was Judah. His kingdom became the Southern Kingdom of Judah, which also included Jerusalem and the surrounding territory. One of Jeroboam's first acts was to build golden calves for the people to worship. Jeroboam set up shrines at Dan and Bethel in an effort to de-empahsize Jerusalem as the worship center and thereby prevent the people from going to Jerusalem and reestablishing ties with the other tribes. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, never had any godly kings, they all practiced idolatry and turned away from the Lord, despite warnings from God's prophets. In the end the Northern Kingdom was destroyed and taken into exile by the Assyrians in 722 BC and they never returned. The Assyrians left the destitute and the poor in the land of the Northern Kingdom, then imported people from surrounding regions. These people intermarried and became known as the Samarian people of New Testament times.
The Southern Kingdom of Judah faired a bit better, they had a combination of godly and idolatrous kings. However, in the end the Southern Kingdom of Judah fell into idolatry, and as a result God used King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians to discipline the people. Judah became a vassal state of Babylon, this was after Babylon replaced Assyria as the dominate world power, and Babylon defeated Egypt in the battle of Carchemish. God had commanded Judah not to rebel against Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar, God told the people all would be well if they would submit to Babylon. However, led by false prophets, one of the last kings of Judah, King Jehoiakim leads a revolt against Babylon. The revolt ends with the reign of King Jehoiakim's son, King Jehoiachin, who surrenders to King Nebuchadnezzar as the king of Judah and important subjects are carried away into Babylonian captivity in 597 BC. King Jehoiachin's reign was followed by the reign of King Zedekiah, and it was King Zedekiah who led the last revolt against Babylon. However, this time, Jerusalem is pillaged and destroyed, the Temple is destroyed and the treasures of the Temple were carried off with most of the remaining people in 586 BC. The people will remain in exile for seventy years, before God allows the people to return under the Persian King Cyrus. During their time in captivity, King Nebuchadnezzar dies and the Babylonian Empire is defeated and replaced by the Medo-Persian Empire.
Abishag cares for David in his old age. Adonijah tries to usurp the kingdom from Solomon. Solomon is annointed king. Adonijah fless to the altar of the temple to avoid being killed for treason. David exhorts Solomon and gives him charge concerning Joab, Barzillai and Shimei. The death of David. Adonijah sins, he ask for David's care taker Abishag for a wife, this is meant to usurp the throne of Solomon. Adonijah is slain for treason. Zadok replaces Abiathar as Priest.
1:1 Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. 1:2 Therefore his servants said to him, "Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm." 1:3 So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 1:4 The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her. 1:5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 1:6 (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?" He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.) 1:7 Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. 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. 1:9 And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants. 1:10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother. 1:11 So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, "Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? 1:12 "Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 1:13 "Go immediately to King David and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne"? Why then has Adonijah become king?' 1:14 "Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words." 1:15 So Bathsheba went into the chamber to the king. (Now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.) 1:16 And Bathsheba bowed and did homage to the king. Then the king said, "What is your wish?" 1:17 Then she said to him, "My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your maidservant, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.' 1:18 "So now, look Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it. 1:19 "He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. 1:20 "And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 1:21 "Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders." 1:22 And just then, while she was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 1:23 So they told the king, saying, "Here is Nathan the prophet." And when he came in before the king, he bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. 1:24 And Nathan said, "My lord, O king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne'? 1:25 "For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, 'Long live King Adonijah' 1:26 "But he has not invited me-me your servant-nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 1:27 "Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?" 1:28 Then King David answered and said, "Call Bathsheba to me." So she came into the king's presence and stood before the king. 1:29 And the king took an oath and said, "As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 1:30 "just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so I certainly will do this day." 1:31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, "Let my lord King David live forever" 1:32 And King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. 1:33 The king also said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 1:34 "There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, 'Long live King Solomon' 1:35 "Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah." 1:36 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, "Amen May the Lord God of my lord the king say so too. 1:37 "As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David." 1:38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and took him to Gihon. 1:39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon" 1:40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound. 1:41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the horn, he said, "Why is the city in such a noisy uproar?" 1:42 While he was still speaking, there came Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest. And Adonijah said to him, "Come in, for you are a prominent man, and bring good news." 1:43 Then Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, "No Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 1:44 "The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king's mule. 1:45 "So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. 1:46 "Also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom. 1:47 "And moreover the king's servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, 'May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.' Then the king bowed himself on the bed. 1:48 "Also the king said thus, 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it' " 1:49 So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way. 1:50 Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 1:51 And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.' " 1:52 Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." 1:53 So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."
2:1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2:2 "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.