Journey Through the Bible – 5

Journey Through the Bible – 5

FIRST SAMUEL (Transition From Judges to Kingship)

AUTHOR:

Precisely who wrote 1 and 2 Samuel is not certain. The Jewish talmudic tradition says that it was written by Samuel. However, though 1 and 2 Samuel take their name from the prophet Samuel, the key figure of the early chapters, the prophet could not possibly have written more than part of 1 Samuel, since his death is recorded in chapter 25. But 1 Samuel 10:25 does attest to the fact that Samuel did write a book. Further, 1 Chronicles 29:29 indicates that Nathan and Gad also wrote about the events recorded in Samuel.

DATE: 930 B.C. and later.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

Originally, the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were placed together as one book in the Hebrew Bible. These two books give the history of the monarchs of Israel in the early period of the monarchy. Fundamentally, 1 Samuel is about king Saul and 2 Samuel is about king David. Both 1 and 2 Samuel get their names from the prophet Samuel whom God used in the transition from using judges to the establishment of the monarchy.

Though originally one book, 1 and 2 Samuel were divided into two books by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT). This division was later followed by Jerome (the Latin Vulgate) and by modern versions. The title of the book has varied from time to time, having been designated “The First and Second Books of Kingdoms” (Septuagint), “First and Second Kings” (Vulgate) and “First and Second Samuel” (Hebrew tradition and most modern versions).

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Beginning with the birth of Samuel and his training in the temple, 1 Samuel describes how this great man of God led Israel as prophet, priest, and the last judge. During Samuel’s leadership, the people of Israel, wanting to be like the nations, demanded a king. Under God’s direction, Samuel then anointed Saul to be the first king. But Saul was rejected by God because of his disobedience. To replace Saul, again under God’s directions, Samuel anointed David, a man after God’s own heart to become the king of Israel. The rest of the book describes the struggles between jealous and demented Saul and godly David.

First Samuel picks up the history of Israel where Judges left off with Samuel following Samson (cf. Judges 16:31). This book traces the transition of leadership in the nation from judges to kings, from a theocracy to a monarchy. Because the people of Israel would not allow Yahweh to rule their lives, with every man doing that which was right in his own eyes, the monarchy brought stability because the people were more willing to follow an earthly king. “And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them” (8:7).

The clamor for an earthly king in First Samuel was a natural outcome of this practical rejection (8:7). God had intended to give Israel a king (see Gen. 49:10Deut. 17:14-20), but the people insisted on the king of their choice instead of waiting for God’s king. … Saul was rejected by the Lord because he failed to learn the truth that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (15:22). He became characterized by mental imbalance, raging jealousy, foolishness, and immorality. David illustrated the principle that, “the Lord does not see as man sees” (16:7). The Lord established the Davidic dynasty because of David’s obedience, wisdom, and dependence on God.7

Historically, one of the key purposes of 1 Samuel is to record the divine origin of the Davidic dynasty.

KEY WORD:

In thought, the key word is transition, but in use, anoint (7 times) and rejected (7 times) are two key terms to this period of transition.

KEY VERSES:

8:6-7 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”

13:14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.

15:22-23 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”

KEY CHAPTERS:

Chapter 8, particularly verses 19-22, record the sad complaint of the nation in their desire for a king over them like that of the nations to judge them and fight their battles. Here, in answer to their request, Samuel is told by the Lord to appoint them a king and the prophet assumes his role of becoming a king-maker.

Chapter 15 is another key chapter in that it records the transition of kingdom authority from Saul to David because of Saul’s disobedience and self-willed character (cf. 15:23).

Chapter 16 forms another key chapter in that it records the choice and anointing of David.

KEY PEOPLE:

Samuel the prophet, Saul the disobedient king, and David the shepherd.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN 1 SAMUEL:

Samuel forms an interesting portrait of Christ in that he was a prophet, a priest, and though he was not a king, he was a judge who was used of God to inaugurate a new age.

Messiah is literally “the anointed one” and Samuel is the first biblical book to use the word anointed (2:10). Furthermore, the primary portrait and anticipation of Messiah is found in the life of David. He was born in Bethlehem, worked as a shepherd, was ruler over Israel, and became the forerunner of Messiah King through the Davidic dynasty. In the New Testament, Christ is described as a “descendant of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

OUTLINE:

  1. Samuel, the Last Judge (1:1-8:22)
    1. The Call of Samuel (1:1-3:21)
    2. The Commission of Samuel (4:1-7:17)
    3. The Concern of Samuel (8:1-22)
  2. Saul, the First King (9:1-15:35)
    1. The Selection of Saul (9:1-12:25)
    2. The Rejection of Saul (13:1-15:35)
  3. David, the Next King (16:1-31:13)
    1. David, the Shepherd, Chosen and Anointed (16:1-23)
    2. David, the Giant Killer, Acclaimed by the Court of Saul (17:1-58)
    3. David, the Friend of Jonathan, but Rejected by Saul (18:1-19:24)
    4. David, the Fugitive, Pursued by Saul (20:1-26:25)
      1. David protected by Jonathan (20:1-42)
      2. David protected by Ahimelech (21:1-9)
      3. David protected by Achish (21:10-15)
      4. David and his band of men (22:1-26:25)
    5. The Refuge of David in Philistine Territory (27:1-31:13)
      1. David becomes a Philistine servant (27:1-28:2)
      2. Saul consults the medium at En-dor (28:3-25)
      3. David dismissed by the Philistines (29:1-11)
      4. David destroys the Amalekites (30:1-31)
      5. The Philistines and the death of Saul (31:1-13)

SECOND SAMUEL – (David’s Reign; Expansion of the Nation)

AUTHOR:

Precisely who wrote 1 and 2 Samuel is not certain. The Jewish talmudic tradition says that it was written by Samuel. However, though 1 and 2 Samuel take their name from the prophet Samuel, the key figure of the early chapters, the prophet could not possibly have written more than part of 1 Samuel, since his death is recorded in chapter 25. But 1 Samuel 10:25 does attest to the fact that Samuel did write a book. Further, 1 Chronicles 29:29 indicates that Nathan and Gad also wrote about the events recorded in Samuel.

DATE: 930 B.C. and later.

NAME:

Originally, the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were placed together as one book in the Hebrew Bible. These two books give the history of the monarchs of Israel in the early period of the monarchy. Fundamentally, 1 Samuel is about king Saul and 2 Samuel is about king David. Both 1 and 2 Samuel get their names from the prophet Samuel whom God used in the transition from using judges to the establishment of the monarchy.

Though originally one book, 1 and 2 Samuel were divided into two books by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT). This division was later followed by Jerome (the Latin Vulgate) and by modern versions. The title of the book has varied from time to time, having been designated “The First and Second Books of Kingdoms” (Septuagint), “First and Second Kings” (Vulgate) and “First and Second Samuel” (Hebrew tradition and most modern versions). 

THEME AND PURPOSE:

With no real break in the story of Israel’s kingdom, 2 Samuel continues the narrative of the beginning of Israel’s kingdom beginning with Saul’s death and continuing with the reign of David. It is distinctively about the forty-year reign of David (5:4-5) and traces his reign through his triumphs and tragedies, which include his sins of adultery, murder, and their consequences on his family and the nation. The theme, as 2 Samuel recounts David’s reign, could be summarized as “how sin turns triumphs into troubles.” Whereas the kingdom was established under Saul, it is expanded by David. Saul’s kingdom gave stabilization to Israel from the time of the judges, but David’s reign brought growth or expansion. In the typical fashion of the Bible which candidly tells the story of its leaders with warts and all, 2 Samuel portrays the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the life of King David.

KEY WORD:

Since the name of David occurs some 267 times (NASB), his name clearly becomes the key word.

KEY VERSES:

7:12-16 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever. 

12:12-14 “‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” 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. 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.”

KEY CHAPTERS: 

Chapter 5 is a key chapter in that it records David’s reign as king over all Israel, but chapters 11-12 are perhaps the more pivotal chapters in that they record David’s sin with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, his rebuke by Nathan the prophet, and the discipline that came on David’s house as a result. 

KEY PEOPLE:

David, Bathsheba, Nathan, Absolom, Joab, Amnon, and Ahithophel. 

CHRIST AS SEEN IN 2 SAMUEL:

With the exception of his sins, David remains a type of Christ as the king of Israel. It is in this chapter that God establishes the Davidic Covenant which ultimately has its fulfillment in the person of Christ.  

OUTLINE:

Second Samuel naturally falls into three sections: The Triumphs of David (1-10), the Transgressions of David (11), and the Troubles of David (12-24).

  1. The Triumphs of David (1-10)
    1. The Coronation of the King (1:1-5:6)
    2. The Consolidation of the Kingdom (5:7-6:23)
    3. The Covenant Concerning the Kingdom (7:1-29)
    4. The Conquests of the King (8:1-10:19)
  2. The Transgressions of the King (11:1-27)
    1. The Adultery by the King (11:1-13)
    2. The Murder Caused by the King (11:14-27)
  3. The Troubles of the King (12:1-24:25)
    1. Troubles at Home (12:1-13:36)
    2. Troubles in the Kingdom (13:37-24:25)

FIRST KINGS – (David’s Death; Disruption of the Kingdom)

AUTHOR:

The author is unknown, though the Jews credit its writing to Jeremiah. As Ryrie points out: Whoever the author or compiler of these books was, he used historical sources (11:41; 14:19, 29). He likely was one of the exiles who lived in Babylon, perhaps an unknown one, or Ezra or Ezekiel or Jeremiah (though someone other than Jeremiah would have had to write the last chapter of 2 Kings, since Jeremiah apparently died in Egypt, not Babylon; Jer. 43:6-7).8

DATE:

About 550 B.C. The release of Jehoiachin from prison is the last event recorded in 2 Kings. This took place in the 37th year of his imprisonment (560 B.C.). Therefore 1 and 2 Kings could not have been written before that event. It seems unlikely that the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. had taken place when 1 and 2 Kings were written; had it occurred, the author would probably have referred to it. Probably 1 and 2 Kings were completed in their final form between 560 and 538 B.C.9

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

First and Second Kings, originally one book (like 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Chronicles) and simply called “Kings” in the Hebrew tradition (Melechim), are appropriately titled since they trace the history of the kings of Israel and Judah from the time of Solomon to the Babylonian captivity. First Kings abruptly ends with the beginning of the reign of Ahaziah in 853 B.C.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

After David’s death (chaps. 1-2), his son Solomon became king. Chapters 1-11 trace the life and reign of Solomon, including Israel’s rise to the peak of her glory, the spread of the nation’s kingdom, and the construction of the temple and palace in Jerusalem. But in Solomon’s later years, he drifted from the Lord because of his pagan wives who wrongly influenced him and turned his heart away from the worship of God in the temple.

As a result, the king with the divided heart leaves behind a divided kingdom. For the next century, the book of First Kings traces the twin histories of two sets of kings and two nations of disobedient people who are growing indifferent to God’s prophets and precepts.10

The next king was Rehoboam, who lost the northern part of the kingdom. After this the Northern Kingdom, which included 10 tribes, was known as Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, which included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was called Judah. In the last chapters of 1 Kings, the focus is on the evil of King Ahab and righteous prophet Elijah who condemned Ahab’s wickedness and Israel’s disobedience.

The central theme, therefore, is to show how disobedience led to the disruption of the kingdom. The welfare of the nation depended on the faithfulness of its leadership and people to the covenants of God with Israel. First Kings not only gives a record of the history of these kings, but it demonstrates the success of any king (and of the nation as a whole) depends on the measure of the king’s allegiance to God’s law or truth. The book truly illustrates how “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). Unfaithfulness to God’s covenant resulted in decline and captivity.

KEY WORD:

While the key word is “kingdom,” which occurs some 357 times (NASB), the key concept is the division of the kingdom.

KEY VERSES: 

1 Kings 9:3-7 NKJV (3) And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.  (4)  Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,  (5)  then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’  (6)  But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them,  (7)  then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples.  

1 Kings 11:11 NKJV  (11) Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.

KEY CHAPTERS: 

Chapters 11 and 12: The key chapters are 11 and 12 which describe the demise of Solomon and the division of the kingdom.

Other significant chapters that have key roles are 3 and 4 dealing with Solomon’s choice of wisdom and wise rule, chapter 8 the dedication of the temple, chapters 17 through 19 recording the great ministry of Elijah. 

KEY PEOPLE:

Solomon, Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Elijah and Elisha, Ahab and Jezebel.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN 1 KINGS:

Like David, Solomon is one of the greatest types in the Old Testament of Christ, portraying Messiah in His future reign on earth. Solomon especially does this as his fame, glory, wealth, and honor all speak of Christ in His earthly kingdom. Solomon also portrays Christ in the great wisdom he demonstrated. 

OUTLINE:

First Kings naturally falls into two sections: the united kingdom (1-11) and the divided kingdom (12-22).

  1. The United Kingdom: The Forty Year Reign of Solomon (1:1-11)
    1. Solomon’s Accession (1:1-3:1)
    2. Solomon’s Wisdom (3:2-4:34 )
    3. Solomon’s Temple (5:1-8:66; cf. 2 Chron. 2:1-7:22)
    4. Solomon’s Fame (9:1-10:29; cf. 2 Chron. 8:1-9:28)
    5. Solomon’s Decline and Downfall (11:1-43)
  2. The Divided Kingdom: The First Eighty Years of the Two Kingdoms (12-22)
    1. The Cause of Division (12:1-24)
    2. The Reign of Jeroboam in Israel(12:25-14:20)
    3. The Reign of Rehoboam inJudah(14:21-31)
    4. The Reign of Abijam in Judah(15:1-8)
    5. The Reign of Asa in Judah(15:9-24)
    6. The Reign of Nadab in Israel(15:25-31)
    7. The Reign of Baasha in Israel(15:32-16:7)
    8. The Reign of Elah in Israel(16:8-14)
    9. The Reign of Zimri in Israel(16:15-20)
    10. The Reign of Omri in Israel(16:21-28)
    11. The Reign of Ahab in Israel(16:29-22:40)
    12. The Reign of Jehoshaphat in Judah(22:41-50)
    13. The Reign of Ahaziah in Israel(22:51-53)

 SECOND KINGS – (Dispersion—Willful Sin Has a Woeful End)

AUTHOR:

Since 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book and were artificially divided, see the previous discussion regarding the author in the 1 Kings overview. 

DATE:

About 550 B.C. Again, since 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book, see the discussion on the date in 1 Kings. 

TITLE OF THE BOOK: See 1 Kings. 

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Second Kings continues the history of Elijah and his successor, Elisha, but it also continues what might be termed, the “Tale of the Two Kingdoms.” As such, it continues to trace the history of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah until they are finally conquered and taken into captivity. Israel fell to Assyria in 722 B.C. and Judah fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. In both kingdoms the prophets continued to warn the people that God would punish them unless they repented. Second Kings teaches that willful sin in a nation has a woeful end. In 1 and 2 Samuel, the nation is born, in 1 Kings it is divided, and in 2 Kings it is dispersed. After years of pleading with His people through the prophets, God’s patience finally turns to discipline just as He promised. Because both books were originally one, 1 and 2 Kings share the same theme and goal. They teach us how unfaithfulness (disobedience to God’s law and rebellion) must lead to God’s discipline and the overthrow of the monarchy. The two kingdoms collapsed because of the failure of the kings to rule righteously and give heed to God’s truth. 

KEY WORD:

Two key words are the word, “king,” occurring over 400 times (NASB), and the word “prophet,” which occurs some 34 times (NASB). But the key term that describes the content would be dispersion or captivities since this book describes the historical demise that lead to the loss of the monarchies and the dispersion of the two kingdoms. 

KEY VERSES: 

2 Kings 17:18-23 NKJV  (18) Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.  (19)  Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.  (20)  And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight.  (21)  For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD, and made them commit a great sin.  (22)  For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them,  (23)  until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.  

2 Kings 23:27 NKJV  (27) And the LORD said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ ”

KEY CHAPTERS:

A number of chapters fall into this category: chapter 2, Elijah taken to heaven; chapter 4, Elisha’s miracle for the widow; chapter 5, the healing of Naaman and Gehazi’s greed; chapter 6, Elisha’s prayer for his servant and the capture of Syria; chapter 17, Israel’s fall and the Assyrian Captivity (722 B.C.); chapters 18-19, Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah and Hezekiah’s prayer; chapters 22-23, Josiah’s revival, reforms, and renewal; chapters 24-25, the fall of Judah to Babylon (586 B.C.) 

KEY PEOPLE:

Elijah, Elisha, Josiah, Naaman, Hezekiah. 

CHRIST AS SEEN IN 2 KINGS:

Elijah naturally anticipates the forerunner of Christ in John the Baptist (Matt. 11:14; 17:10-12; Luke 1:17) and Elisha in many ways reminds us of Jesus Christ in His ministry. Jensen compares and summarizes their ministry: Elijah is noted for great public acts, while Elisha is distinguished by the large number of miracles he performed, many of them for individual needs. Elijah’s ministry emphasized God’s law, judgment, and severity. Elisha supplemented this by demonstrating God’s grace, love and tenderness. Elijah was like John the Baptist, thundering the message of repentance for sin. Elisha followed this up by going about, as Christ did, doing deeds of kindness, and by doing miracles attesting that the words of the prophets were from God.11

OUTLINE:

Second Kings also naturally falls into two section. The first section, The Divided Kingdom (1:1-17:41), selectively traces the reign of the kings of both nations until the dispersion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The second section, The Surviving Kingdom of Judah (18:1-25:30), then traces the reign of the surviving kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

  1. The Divided Kingdom (1:1-17:41)
    1. The Reign of Ahaziah in Israel (1:1-18 )
    2. The Reign of Jehoram (Joram) in Israel(2:1-8:15)
      • The translation of Elijah (2:1-11)
      • The beginning of Elisha’s ministry (2:12-25)
      • Jehoram’s expedition against Moab (3:1-27)
      • Elisha’s ministry (4:1-8:15)
    3. The Reign of Joram (Jehoram) in Judah(8:16-24)
    4. The Reign of Ahaziah in Judah(8:25-29)
    5. The Reign of Jehu in Israel(9:1-10:36)
    6. The Reign of Athaliah in Judah(11:1-16)
    7. The Reign of Jehoash (Joash) in Judah(11:17-12:21)
    8. The Reign of Jehoahaz in Israel(13:1-9)
    9. The Reign of Jehoash (Joash) in Israel(13:10-25)
    10. The Reign of Amaziah inJudah(14:1-22)
    11. The Reign of Jeroboam II in Israel(14:23-29)
    12. The Reign of Azariah (Uzziah) in Judah(15:1-7)
    13. The Reign of Zechariah in Israel(15:8-12)
    14. The Reign of Shallum in Israel(15:13-15)
    15. The Reign of Menahem in Israel(15:16-22)
    16. The Reign of Pekahiah in Israel(15:23-26)
    17. The Reign of Pekah in Israel(15:27-31)
    18. The Reign of Jotham in Judah(15:32-38)
    19. The Reign of Ahaz in Judah(16:1-20)
    20. The Reign of Hoshea in Israel(17:1-41)
    21. Israel’s Defeat (17:1-6 )
    22. Israel’s Sins (17:7-23)
    23. Israel’s Dispersion (17:24-41) 
  1. The Surviving Kingdom of Judah (18:1-25:30)
    1. The Reign of Hezekiah (18:1-20:21)
    2. The Reign of Manasseh (21:1-18)
    3. The Reign of Amon (21:19-26)
    4. The Reign of Josiah (22:1-23:30)
    5. The Reign of Jehoahaz (2 Chron. 36:1-4) (23:31-33)
    6. The Reign of Jehoiakim (23:34-24:7)
    7. The Reign of Jehoiachin (24:8-16)
    8. The Reign of Zedekiah (24:17-25:21)
      • Rebellion against Babylon and destruction of the Temple (24:17-25:10)
      • Third deportation to Babylon (25:11-21)
    9. The Governorship of Gedaliah, a Puppet Governor (25:22-26)
    10. The Release of Jehoiachin in Babylon (25:27-30)

Note carefully the instructive contrasts Ryrie demonstrates for us in the content of 1 and 2 Kings.12 These contrasts clearly demonstrate the truth that Willful Sin has a Woeful End.