May 26, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for 1 Kings 1-4
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Author: Unknown. Authorship is generally attributed to "the prophets," although, the prophet Jeremiah is often credited.
Date: Sometime after 550 BC. The book spans a time range of over 400 years, from the rise of Solomon, to the fall of Jehoiachin. A single prophet (such as Jeremiah) could have written the book using historical records, or several prophets could have each written sections of the book as they lived it.
Context: 1 Kings begins as David is an old man about to die. His fourth son Adonijah has set himself up to be king, seeming without any opposition and behind his father's back. But this was not God's plan. Just as Adonijah is about to crown himself king, he is informed that David has crowned Solomon king, whom Adonijah had not invited to his banquet. By this offense, Adonijah was telling Solomon that he intended to kill him. Adonijah feared for his life and Solomon promised to let him live so long as he promised to be loyal. David held a rather low opinion of Solomon, as we see by his instructions. He thought he was a sissy, not a man. The most important piece of advice David gave Solomon is advice we can all take to heart today: keep the word of God close. Following David's death, Adonijah, who had not given up his dreams of being king, asked for Abishag, who nursed King David in his last days, as his wife. Solomon saw this as a desperate grab for the throne and executed him, knowing Adonijah would continually try to become king if left alive. Others who supported Adonijah in his quest for the throne were also sought out and killed. Solomon made peace with Egypt by marrying Pharaoh's daughter. The Lord offered Solomon one request and he requested political discernment. Solomon was concerned about ruling the kingdom. He was less concerned about his relationship with the Lord. Solomon was a wise king politically, but he lacked spiritual discernment and allowed himself to be swayed by his wives away from the Lord. In 4:26, we see Solomon failing to follow the word of God, laid out in Deuteronomy 17:16. Solomon's political wisdom was known throughout, and many came to hear him.
World History: The rise of Solomon occurred around 970 BC. He was the last king to rule over a united nation of Israel, as tribal tensions, which existed since David, divided the nation. Early in his reign, Solomon made peace with other nations, often through marriage alliances, which led to Solomon's idolatry. Near the end of Solomon's reign, new regimes began replacing those he had made peace with, and the new powers were not favorable to Israel.