1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kings, First and Second Books of
KINGS, FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF, two books of the Bible, the last of the series of Old Testament histories known as the Earlier or Former Prophets. They were originally reckoned as a single book (Josephus; Origen ap. Eus., H.E. vi. 25; Peshitta; Talmud), though modern Bibles follow the bipartition which is derived from the Septuagint. In that version they are called the third and fourth books of “kingdoms” (βασιλειῶν), the first and second being our books of Samuel. The division into two books is not felicitous, and even the old Hebrew separation between Kings and Samuel must not be taken to mean that the history from the birth of Samuel to the exile was treated by two distinct authors in independent volumes. We cannot speak of the author of Kings or Samuel, but only of an editor or of successive editors whose main work was to arrange in a continuous form extracts or abstracts from earlier sources. The introduction of a chronological scheme and of a series of editorial comments and additions, chiefly designed to enforce the religious meaning of the history, gives a kind of unity to the book of Kings as we now read it; but beneath this we can still distinguish a variety of documents, which, though sometimes mutilated in the process of piecing together, retain sufficient individuality of style and colour to prove their original independence.
Of these documents one of the best defined is the vivid picture of David’s court at Jerusalem (2 Sam. ix.–xx.) from which the first two chapters of 1 Kings manifestly cannot be separated. As it would be unreasonable to suppose that the editor of the history of David closed his work abruptly before the death of the king, breaking off in the middle of a valuable memoir which lay before him, this observation leads us to conclude that the books of Samuel and Kings are not independent histories. They have at least one source in common, and a single editorial hand was at work on both. From an historical point of view, however, the division which makes the beginning of Solomon’s reign the beginning of a new book is very convenient. The conquest of Palestine by the Israelite tribes, recounted in the book of Joshua, leads up to the era of the “judges” (Judg. ii. 6–23; iii. sqq.), and the books of Samuel follow with the institution of the monarchy and the first kings. The books of Kings bring to a close the life of David (c. 975 B.C.), which forms the introduction to the reign of Solomon (1 Kings ii. 12–xi.), the troubles in whose time prepared the way for the separation into the two distinct kingdoms, viz. Judah and the northern tribes of Israel (xii. sqq.). After the fall of Samaria, the history of these Israelites is rounded off with a review (2 Kings xvii.–xviii. 12). The history of the surviving kingdom of Judah is then carried down to the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile (5 and 6), and, after an account of the Chaldean governorship, concludes with the release of the captive king Jehoiachin (561 B.C.) and with an allusion to his kind treatment during the rest of his lifetime.
The most noticeable feature in the book is the recurring interest in the centralization of worship in the Temple at Jerusalem as prescribed in Deuteronomy and enforced by Josiah. Amidst the great variety in style and manner which marks the several parts of the history, features which are imbued with the teaching of Deuteronomy recur regularly in similar stereotyped forms. They point in fact to a specific redaction, and thus it would seem that the editor who treated the foundation of the Temple, the central event of Solomon’s life, as a religious epoch of the first importance, regarded this as the beginning of a new era—the history of Israel under the one sanctuary.
When we assume that the book of Kings was thrown into its present form by a Deuteronomistic redactor we do not affirm that he was the first who digested the sources of the history into a continuous work, nor must we ascribe absolute finality to his work. He gave the book a Successive Redactions. definite shape and character, but the recognized methods of Hebrew literature left it open to additions and modifications by later hands. Even the redaction in the spirit of Deuteronomy seems itself to have had more than one stage, as Ewald long ago recognized.
The evidence to be detailed presently shows that there was a certain want of definiteness about the redaction. The mass of disjointed materials, not always free from inconsistencies, which lay before the editor in separate documents or in excerpts already partially arranged by an earlier hand, could not have been reduced to real unity without critical sifting, and an entire recasting of the narrative in a way foreign to the ideas and literary habits of the Hebrews. The unity which the editor aimed at was limited to (a) chronological continuity in the events recorded and (b) a certain uniformity in the treatment of the religious meaning of the narrative. Even this could not be perfectly attained in the circumstances, and the links of the history were not firmly enough riveted to prevent disarrangement or rearrangement of details by later scribes.
(a) The continued efforts of successive redactors can be traced in the chronology of the book. The chronological method of the narrative appears most clearly in the history after Solomon, where the events of each king’s reign are thrown into a kind of stereotyped framework on this type: “In the twentieth year of Jeroboam, king of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah, and reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years.” . . . “In the third year of Asa, king of Judah, Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah twenty-four years.” The history moves between Judah and Israel according to the date of each accession; as soon as a new king has been introduced, everything that happened in his reign is discussed, and wound up by another stereotyped formula as to the death and burial of the sovereign; and to this mechanical arrangement the natural connexion of events is often sacrificed. In this scheme the elaborate synchronisms between contemporary monarchs of the north and south give an aspect of great precision to the chronology. But in reality the data for Judah and Israel do not agree, and remarkable deviations are sometimes found. The key to the chronology is 1 Kings vi. 1, which, as Wellhausen has shown, was not found in the original Septuagint, and contains internal evidence of post-Chaldean date. In fact the system as a whole is necessarily later than 535 B.C., the fixed point from which it counts back, and although the numbers for the duration of the reigns may be based upon early sources, the synchronisms appear to have been inserted at a much later stage in the history of the text.
(b) Another aspect in the redaction may be called theological. Its characteristic is the retrospective application to the history of a standard belonging to the later developments of Old Testament religion. Thus the redactor regards the sins of Jeroboam as the real cause of the downfall of Israel (2 Kings xvii. 21 seq.), and passes an unfavourable judgment upon all its rulers, not merely to the effect that they did evil in the sight of Yahweh but that they followed in the way of Jeroboam. But his opinion was manifestly not shared by Elijah or Elisha, nor by the original narrator of the lives of these prophets. Moreover, the redactor in 1 Kings iii. 2 seq. regards worship at the high places as sinful after the building of the Temple, although even the best kings before Hezekiah made no attempt to suppress these shrines. This feature in the redaction displays itself not only in occasional comments or homiletical excursuses, but in that part of the narrative in which all ancient historians allowed themselves free scope for the development of their reflections—the speeches placed in the mouths of actors in the history. Here also there is often textual evidence that the theological element is somewhat loosely attached to the earlier narrative and underwent successive additions.
Consequently it is necessary to distinguish between the older sources and the peculiar setting in which the history has been placed; between earlier records and that specific colouring which, from its affinity to Deuteronomy and to other portions of the Old Testament which appear General Structure. to have been similarly treated under the influence of its teaching, may be conveniently termed “Deuteronomistic.” For his sources the compiler refers chiefly to two distinct works, the “words” or “chronicles” of the kings of Israel and those of the kings of Judah. Precisely how much is copied from these works and how much has been expressed in the compiler’s own language is of course uncertain. It is found on inspection that the present history consists usually of an epitome of each reign. It states the king’s age at succession (so Judah only), length of reign, death and burial, with allusions to his buildings, wars, and other political events. In the case of Judah, also, the name of the royal or queen-mother is specifically mentioned. The references to the respective “chronicles,” made as though they were still accessible, are wanting in the case of Jehoram and Hoshea of Israel, and of Solomon, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah of Judah. But for Solomon the authority cited, “book of the acts of Solomon” (1 Kings xi. 41), presumably presupposes Judaean chronicles, and the remaining cases preserve details of an annalistic character. Moreover, distinctive annalistic material is found for the Israelite kings Saul and Ishbosheth in 1 Sam. xiii. 1; xiv. 47–51; 2 Sam. ii. 8–10a (including even their age at accession), and for David in 2 Sam. ii. 11 and parts of v. and viii.
The use which the compiler makes of his sources shows that his aim was not the history of the past but its religious significance. It is rare that even qualified praise is bestowed upon the kings of Israel (Jehoram, 2 Kings iii. 2; Jehu x. 30; Hoshea xvii. 2). Kings of great historical importance are treated with extreme brevity (Omri, Jeroboam (2), Uzziah), and similar meagreness of historical information is apparent when the editorial details and the religious judgments are eliminated from the accounts of Nadab, Baasha, and the successors of Jeroboam (2) in Israel or of Abijam and Manasseh in Judah.
To gain a more exact idea of the character of the book we may divide the history into three sections: (1) the life of Solomon, (2) the kingdoms of Ephraim (or Samaria) and Judah, and (3) the separate history of Judah after the fall of Samaria. I. Solomon.—The events which lead up Solomon. to the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) are closely connected with 2 Sam. ix.–xx. The unity is broken by the appendix 2 Sam. xxi. xxi.–xxiv. which is closely connected, as regards general subject-matter, with ibid. v.–viii.; the literary questions depend largely upon the structure of the books of Samuel (q.v.). It is evident, at least, that either the compiler drew upon other sources for the occasion and has been remarkably brief elsewhere, or that his epitomes have been supplemented by the later insertion of material not necessarily itself of late origin. At present 1 Kings i., ii. are both the close of David’s life (no source is cited) and the necessary introduction to Solomon. But Lucian’s recension of the Septuagint (ed. Lagarde), as also Josephus, begin the book at ii. 12, thus separating the annalistic accounts of the two. Since the contents of 1 Kings iii.–xi. do not form a continuous narrative, the compiler’s authority (“Acts of S.” xi. 41) can hardly have been an ordinary chronicle. The chapters comprise (a) sundry notices of the king’s prosperous and peaceful career, severed by (b) a description of the Temple and other buildings; and they conclude with (c) some account of the external troubles which prove to have unsettled the whole of his reign. After an introduction (iii.), a contains generalizing statements of Solomon’s might, wealth and wisdom (iv. 20 seq., 25, 29–34; x. 23–25, 27) and stories of a distinctly late and popular character (iii. 16–28, x. i–10, 13). The present lack of unity can in some cases be remedied by the Septuagint, which offers many deviations from the Hebrew text; this feature together with the present form of the parallel texts in Chronicles will exemplify the persistence of fluctuation to a late period (4th–2nd cent. B.C.).
Thus iii. 2 seq. cannot be by the same hand as v. 4, and v. 2 is probably a later Deut. gloss upon v. 3 (earlier Deut.), which represents the compiler’s view and (on the analogy of the framework) comes closely after ii. 12. Ch. iii. 1 can scarcely be severed from ix. 16, and in the Septuagint they appear in iv. in the order: iv. 1–19 (the officers), 27 seq. (their duties), 22–24 (the daily provision), 29–34 (Solomon’s reputation), iii. 1; ix. 16–17a (alliance with Egypt); iv. 20 seq. 25 are of a generalizing character and recur in the Septuagint with much supplementary matter in ii. Ch. iv. 26 is naturally related to x. 26 (cf. 2 Chron. i. 14) and takes its place in Lucian’s recension (cf. 2 Chron. ix. 25). There is considerable variation again in ix. 10–x. 29, and the order ix. 10–14, 26–28, x. 1–22 (so partly Septuagint) has the advantage of recording continuously Solomon’s dealings with Hiram. The intervening verses belong to a class of floating notices (in a very unnatural order) which seem to have got stranded almost by chance at different points in the two recensions; contrast also 2 Chron. viii. Solomon’s preliminary arrangements with Hiram in ch. v. have been elaborated to emphasize the importance of the Temple (vv. 3–5, cf. 2 Sam. vii.); further difficulty is caused by the relation between 13 seq. and 15 seq. (see 2 Chron. ii. 17 seq.) and between both of these and ix. 20 seq. xi. 28. The account of the royal buildings now sandwiched in between the related fragments of a is descriptive rather than narrative, and the accurate details might have been obtained by actual observation of the Temple at a date long subsequent to Solomon. It is not all due to a single hand. Ch. vi. 11–14 (with several late phrases) break the connexion and are omitted by the Septuagint; vv. 15–22, now untranslatable, appear in a simple and intelligible form in the Septuagint. The account of the dedication contains many signs of a late date; viii. 14–53, 54–61 are due to a Deuteronomic writer, and that they are an expansion of the older narrative (vv. 1–13) is suggested by the fact that the ancient fragment, vv. 12, 13 (imperfect in the Hebrew) appears in the Septuagint after v. 53 in completer form and with a reference to the book of Jashar as source (βιβλίον τῆς ᾠδῆς ספר (השיר) הישר). The redactional insertion displaced it in one recension and led to its mutilation in the other. With viii. 27–30, cf. generally Isa. xl.–lvi.; vv. 44–51 presuppose the exile, vv. 54–61 are wanting in Chron., and even the older parts of this chapter have also been retouched in conformity with later (even post-exilic) ritual and law. The Levites who appear at v. 4 in contrast to the priests, in a way unknown to the pre-exilic history, are not named in the Septuagint, which also omits the post-exilic term “congregation” (‘ēdah) in v. 5. There is a general similarity of subject with Deut. xxviii.
The account of the end of Solomon’s reign deals with (a) his religious laxity (xi. 1–13, now in a Deuteronomic form), as the punishment for which the separation of the two kingdoms is announced; and (b) the rise of the adversaries who, according to xi. 25, had troubled the whole of his reign, and therefore cannot have been related originally as the penalty for the sins of his old age. Both, however, form an introduction to subsequent events, and the life of Solomon concludes with a brief annalistic notice of his death, length of reign, successor, and place of burial. (See further Solomon.)
II. Ephraim and Judah.—In the history of the two kingdoms the redactor follows a fixed scheme determined, as has been seen, by the order of succession. The fluctuation of tradition concerning the circumstances of the schism is evident from a comparison with the The Divided Kingdom. Septuagint, and all that is related of Ahijah falls under suspicion of being foreign to the oldest history. The story of the man of God from Judah (xiii.) is shown to be late by its general tone (conceptions of prophetism and revelation), and by the term “cities of Samaria” (v. 32, for Samaria as a province, cf. 2 Kings xvii. 24, 26; for the building of the city by Omri see 1 Kings xvi. 24). It is a late Judaean narrative inserted after the Deuteronomic redaction, and breaks the connexion between xii. 31 and xiii. 33 seq. The latter describe the idolatrous worship instituted by the first king of the schismatic north, and the religious attitude occurs regularly throughout the compiler’s epitome, however brief the reigns of the kings. In the account of Nadab, xv. 25 seq., 29b, 30 seq. are certainly the compiler’s, and the synchronism in v. 28 must also be editorial; xv. 32 (Septuagint omit) and 16 are duplicates leading up to the Israelite and Judaean accounts of Baasha respectively. But xv. 33–xvi. 7 contains little annalistic information, and the prophecy in xvi. 1–4 is very similar to xiv. 7–11, which in turn breaks the connexion between vv. 6 and 12. Ch. xvi. 7 is a duplicate to vv. 1–4 and out of place; the Septuagint inserts it in the middle of v. 8. The brief reign of Elah preserves an important entract in xvi. 9, but the date in v. 10a (LXX. omits) presupposes the late finished chronological scheme. Zimri’s seven days receive the inevitable condemnation, but the older material embedded in the framework (xvi. 15b–18) is closely connected with v. 9 and is continued in the non-editorial portions of Omri’s reign (xvi. 21 seq., length of reign in v. 23, and v. 24). The achievements of Omri to which the editor refers can fortunately be gathered from external sources (see Omri). Under Omri’s son Ahab the separate kingdoms converge.
Next, as to Judah: the vivid account of the accession of Rehoboam in xii. 1–16 is reminiscent of the full narratives in 2 Sam. ix.–xx.; 1 Kings i., ii. (cf. especially v. 16 with 2 Sam. xx. 1); xii. 15b refers to the prophecy of Ahijah (see above), and “unto this day,” v. 19, cannot be by a contemporary author; v. 17 (LXX. omits) finds a parallel in 2 Chron. xi. 16 seq., and could represent an Ephraimite standpoint. The Judaean standpoint is prominent in vv. 21–24, where (a) the inclusion of Benjamin and (b) the cessation of war (at the command of Shemaiah) conflict with (a) xi. 32, 36, xii. 20 and (b) xiv. 30 respectively. Rehoboam’s history, resumed by the redactor in xiv. 21–24, continues with a brief account of the spoiling of the Temple and palace by Sheshonk (Shishak). (The incident appears in 2 Chron. xii. in a rather different context, before the details which now precede v. 21 seq.) The reign of Abijam is entirely due to the editor, whose brief statement of the war in xv. 7b is supplemented by a lengthy story in 2 Chron. xiii. (where the name is Abijah). Ch. xv. 5b (last clause) and v. 6 are omitted by the Septuagint, the former is a unique gloss (see 2 Sam. xi. seq.), the latter is a mere repetition of xiv. 30; with xv. 2 cf. v. 10. The account of Asa’s long reign contains a valuable summary of his war with Baasha, xv. 16–22; the isolated v. 15 is quite obscure and is possibly related to v. 18 (but cf. vii. 51). His successor Jehoshaphat is now dealt with completely in xxii. 41–50 after the death of Ahab; but the Septuagint, which follows a different chronological scheme (placing his accession in the reign of Omri), gives the summary (with some variations) after xvi. 28. Another light is thrown upon the incomplete annalistic fragments (xxii. 44, 47–49) by 2 Chron. xx. 35–37: the friendship between Judah and Israel appears to have been displeasing to the redactor of Kings.
The history of the few years between the close of Ahab’s
life and the accession of Jehu covers about one-third of the
entire book of Kings. This is due to the inclusion
of a number of narratives which are partly of
a political character, and partly are interested in
Ephraim from Ahab
to Jehu. the work of contemporary prophets. The climax is reached in the overthrow of Omri’s dynasty by the usurper Jehu, when, after a period of close intercourse between Israel and Judah, its two kings perished. The annals of each kingdom would naturally deal independently with these events, but the present literary structure of 1 Kings xvii.–2 Kings xi. is extremely complicated by the presence of the narratives referred to. First as regards the framework, the epitome of Ahab is preserved in xvi. 29–34 and xxii. 39; it contains some unknown references (his ivory house and cities), and a stern religious judgment upon his Phoenician alliance, on which the intervening chapters throw more light. The colourless summary of his son Ahaziah (xxii. 51–53) finds its conclusion in 2 Kings i. 17 seq. where v. 18 should precede the accession of his brother Jehoram (v. 17b). Jehoram is again introduced in iii. 1–3 (note the variant synchronism), but the usual conclusion is wanting. In Judah, Jehoshaphat was succeeded by his son Jehoram, who had married Athaliah the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (viii. 16–24); to the annalistic details (vv. 20–22) 2 Chron. xxi. 11 sqq. adds a novel narrative. His son Ahaziah (viii. 25 sqq.) is similarly denounced for his relations with Israel. He is again introduced in the isolated ix. 29, while Lucian’s recension adds after x. 36 a variant summary of his reign but without the regular introduction. Further confusion appears in the Septuagint, which inserts after i. 18 (Jehoram of Israel) a notice corresponding to iii. 1–3, and concludes “and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the house of Ahab.” This would be appropriate in a position nearer ix. seq. where the deaths of Jehoram and Ahaziah are described. These and other examples of serious disorder in the framework may be associated with the literary features of the narratives of Elijah and Elisha.
Of the more detailed narratives those that deal with the northern kingdom are scarcely Judaean (see 1 Kings xix. 3), and they do not criticize Elijah’s work, as the Judaean compiler denounces the whole history of the north. But they are plainly not of one origin. To supplement the articles Elijah and Elisha, it is to be noticed that the account of Naboth’s death in the history of Elijah (1 Kings xxi.) differs in details from that in the history of Elisha and Jehu (2 Kings ix.), and the latter more precise narrative presupposes events recorded in the extant accounts of Elijah but not these events themselves. In 1 Kings xx., xxii. 1–28 (xxi. follows xix. in the LXX.) Ahab is viewed rather more favourably than in the Elijah-narratives (xix., xxi.) or in the compiler’s summary. Ch. xxii. 6, moreover, proves that there is some exaggeration in xviii. 4, 13; the great contest between Elijah and the king, between Yahweh and Baal, has been idealized. The denunciation of Ahab in xx. 35–43 has some notable points of contact with xiii. and seems to be a supplement to the preceding incidents. Ch. xxii. is important for its ideas of prophetism (especially vv. 19–23; cf. Ezek. xiv. 9; 2 Sam. xxiv. 1 [in contrast to 1 Chron. xxi. 1]); a gloss at the end of v. 28, omitted by the Septuagint, wrongly identifies Micaiah with the well-known Micah (i. 2). Although the punishment passed upon Ahab in xxi. 20 sqq. (20b–26 betray the compiler’s hand; cf. xiv. 10 seq.) is modified in v. 29, this is ignored in the account of his death, xxii. 38, which takes place at Samaria (see below).
The episode of Elijah and Ahaziah (2 Kings i.) is marked by the revelation through an angel. The prophet’s name appears in an unusual form (viz. ēliyyah, not -yahu), especially in vv. 2–8. The prediction of Ahaziah’s fate finds a parallel in 2 Chron. xxi. 12–15; the more supernatural additions have been compared with the late story in 1 Sam. xix. 18–24. The ascension of Elijah (2 Kings ii.) is related as the introduction to the work of Elisha, which apparently begins before the death of Jehoshaphat (see iii. 1, 11 sqq.; contrast 2 Chron. loc. cit.). Among the stories of Elisha are some which find him at the head of the prophetic gilds (iv. 1, 38–44, vi. 1–7), whilst in others he has friendly relations with the “king of Israel” and the court. As a personage of almost superhuman dignity he moves in certain narratives where political records appear to have been utilized to describe the activity of the prophets. The Moabite campaign (iii.) concerns a revolt already referred to in the isolated i. 1; there are parallels with the story of Jehoshaphat and Ahab (iii. 7, 11 seq.; cf. 1 Kings xxii. 4 seq., 7 sqq.), contrast, however, xxii. 7 (where Elijah is not even named) and iii. 11 seq. But Jehoshaphat’s death has been already recorded (1 Kings xxii. 50), and, while Lucian’s recension in 2 Kings iii. reads Ahaziah, i. 17 presupposes the accession of the Judaean Jehoram. Other political narratives may underlie the stories of the Aramaean wars; with vi. 24–vii. 20 (after the complete cessation of hostilities in vi. 23) compare the general style of 1 Kings xx., xxii.; with the famine in Samaria, vi. 25; cf. ibid. xvii.; with the victory, cf. ibid. xx. The account of Elisha and Hazael (viii. 7–15) implies friendly relations with Damascus (in v. 12 the terrors of war are in the future), but the description of Jehu’s accession (ix.) is in the midst of hostilities. Ch. ix. 7–10a are a Deuteronomic insertion amplifying the message in vv. 3–6 (cf. 1 Kings xxi. 20 seq.). The origin of the repetition in ix. 14–15a (cf. viii. 28 seq.) is not clear. The oracle in ix. 25 seq. is not that in 1 Kings xxi. 19 seq., and mentions the additional detail that Naboth’s sons were slain. Here his field or portion is located near Jezreel, but in 1 Kings xxi. 18 his vineyard is by the royal palace in Samaria (cf. xxii. 38 and contrast xxi. 1, where the LXX. omits reference to Jezreel). This fluctuation reappears in 2 Kings x. 1, 11 seq., and 17; in ix. 27 compared with 2 Chron. xxii. 9; and in the singular duplication of an historical incident, viz. the war against the Aramaeans at Ramoth-Gilead (a) by Jehoshaphat and Ahab, and (b) by Ahaziah and Jehoram, in each case with the death of the Israelite king, at Samaria and Jezreel respectively (see above and observe the contradiction in 1 Kings xxi. 29 and xxii. 38). These and other critical questions in this section are involved with (a) the probability that Elisha’s work belongs rather to the accession of Jehu, with whose dynasty he was on most intimate terms until his death some forty-five years later (2 Kings xiii. 14–21), and (b) the problem of the wars between Israel and Syria which appear to have begun only in the time of Jehu (x. 32). See Jew. Quart. Rev. (1908), pp. 597–630, and Jews: History, § 11 seq.
In the annals of Jehu’s dynasty the editorial introduction
to Jehu himself is wanting (x. 32 sqq.), although Lucian’s
recension in x. 36 concludes in annalistic manner
the lives of Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of
Judah. The summary mentions the beginning of
of Jehu. the Aramaean wars, the continuation of which is found in the redactor’s account of his successor Jehoahaz (xiii. 1–9). But xiii. 4–6 modify the disasters, and by pointing to the “saviour” or deliverer (cf. Judg. iii. 9, 15) anticipate xiv. 27. The self-contained account of his son Jehoash (xiii. 10–13) is supplemented (a) by the story of the death of Elisha (vv. 14–21) and (b) by some account of the Aramaean wars (vv. 22–25), where v. 23, like vv. 4–6 (Lucian’s recension actually reads it after v. 7), is noteworthy for the sympathy towards the northern kingdom. Further (c) the defeat of Amaziah of Judah appears in xiv. 8–14 after the annals of Judah, although from an Israelite source (v. 11b Bethshemesh defined as belonging to Judah, see also v. 15, and with the repetition of the concluding statements in v. 15 seq., see xiii. 12 seq.). These features and the transference of xiii. 12 seq. after xiii. 25 in Lucian’s recension point to late adjustment. In Judaean history, Jehu’s reform and the overthrow of Jezebel in the north (ix., x. 15–28) find their counterpart in the murder of Athaliah and the destruction of the temple of Baal in Judah (xi. 18). But the framework is incomplete. The editorial conclusion of the reign of Ahaziah, the introduction to that of Athaliah, and the sources for both are wanting. A lengthy Judaean document is incorporated detailing the accession of Joash and the prominence of the abruptly introduced priest Jehoiada. The interest in the Temple and temple-procedure is obvious; and both xi. and xii. have points of resemblance with xxii. seq. (see below and cf. also xi. 4, 7, 11, 19, with 1 Kings xiv. 27 seq.). The usual epitome is found in xi. 21–xii. 3 (the age at accession should follow the synchronism, so Lucian), with fragments of annalistic matter in xii. 17–21 (another version in 2 Chron. xxiv. 23 sqq.). For Joash’s son Amaziah see above; xiv. 6 refers to Deut. xxiv. 16, and 2 Chron. xxv. 5–16 replaces v. 7 by a lengthy narrative with some interesting details. Azariah or Uzziah is briefly summarized in xv. 1–7, hence the notice in xiv. 22 seems out of place; perhaps the usual statements of Amaziah’s death and burial (cf. xiv. 20b, 22b), which were to be expected after v. 18, have been supplemented by the account of the rebellion (vv. 19, 20a, 21). The chronological notes for the accession of Azariah imply different views of the history of Judah after the defeat of Amaziah; with xiv. 17, cf. xiii. 10, xiv. 2, 23, but contrast xv. 1, and again v. 8.
The important reign of Jeroboam (2) is dismissed as briefly as that of Azariah (xiv. 23–29). The end of the Aramaean war presupposed by v. 25 is supplemented by the sympathetic addition in v. 26 seq. (cf. xiii. 4 seq. 23). Of his successors Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem only the briefest records remain, now imbedded in the editorial framework (xv. 8–25). The summary of Pekah (perhaps the same as Pekahiah, the confusion being due to the compiler) contains excerpts which form the continuation of the older material in v. 25 (cf. also vv. 10, 14, 16, 19, 20). For an apparently similar adjustment of an earlier record to the framework see above on 1 Kings xv. 25–31, xvi. 8–25. The account of Hoshea’s conspiracy (xv. 29 seq.) gives the Israelite version with which Tiglath-Pileser’s own statement can now be compared. Two accounts of the fall of Samaria are given, one of which is under the reign of the contemporary Judaean Hezekiah (xvii. i–6, xviii. 9–12); the chronology is again intricate. Reflections on the disappearance of the northern kingdom appear in xvii. 7–23 and xviii. 12; the latter belongs to the Judaean history. The former is composite; xvii. 21–23 (cf. v. 18) look back to the introduction of calf-worship by Jeroboam (1), and agree with the compiler’s usual standpoint; but vv. 19–20 include Judah and presuppose the exile. The remaining verses survey types of idolatry partly of a general kind (vv. 9–12, 16a), and partly characteristic of Judah in the last years of the monarchy (vv. 16b, 17). The brief account of the subsequent history of Israel in xvii. 24–41 is not from one source, since the piety of the new settlers (v. 32–34a, 41) conflicts with the later point of view in 34b–40. The last-mentioned supplements thein xvii. 7–23, forms a solemn conclusion to the history of the northern kingdom, and is apparently aimed at the Samaritans.
III. Later History of Judah.—The summary of Jotham (xv. 32–38) shows interest in the Temple (v. 35) and alludes to the hostility of Pekah (v. 37) upon which the Israelite annals are silent. 2. Chron. xxvii. expands Judah. the former but replaces the latter by other not unrelated details (see Uzziah). But xv. 37 is resumed afresh in the account of the reign of Ahaz (xvi. 5 sqq.; the text in v. 6 is confused)—another version in 2 Chron. xxviii. 5 sqq.—and is supplemented by a description, evidently from the Temple records, in which the ritual innovations by “king Ahaz” (in contrast to “Ahaz” alone in vv. 5–9) are described (vv. 10–18). There is further variation of detail in 2 Chron. xxviii. 20–27. The summary of Hezekiah (xviii. 1–8) emphasizes his important religious reforms (greatly expanded in 2 Chron. xxix. seq. from a later standpoint), and includes two references to his military achievements. Of these v. 8 is ignored in Chron., and v. 7 is supplemented by (a) the annalistic extract in vv. 13–16, and (b) narratives in which the great contemporary prophet Isaiah is the central figure. The latter are later than Isaiah himself (xix. 37 refers to 681 B.C.) and reappear, with some abbreviation and rearrangement, in Isa. xxxvi.–xxxix. (see Isaiah). They are partly duplicate (cf. xix. 7 with vv. 28, 33; vv. 10–13 with xviii. 28–35), and consist of two portions, xviii. 17–xix. 8 (Isa. xxxvi. 2–xxxvii. 8) and xix. 9b–35 (Isa. xxxvii. 9b–36); to which of these xix. 9a and v. 36 seq. belong is disputed. 2 Chron. xxxii. (where these accounts are condensed) is in general agreement with 2 Kings xviii. 7, as against vv. 14–16. The poetical fragment, xix. 21–28, is connected with the sign in vv. 29–31; both seem to break the connexion between xix. 20 and 32 sqq. Chap. xx. 1–19 appears to belong to an earlier period in Hezekiah’s reign (see v. 6 and cf. 2 Chron. xxxii. 25 seq.); with vv. 1–11 note carefully the forms in Isa. xxxviii. 1–8, 21 seq., and 2 Chron. xxxii. 24–26; with xx. 12–19 (Isa. xxxix) contrast the brief allusion in 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. In v. 17 seq. the exile is foreshadowed. Use has probably been made of a late cycle of Isaiah-stories; such a work is actually mentioned in 2 Chron. xxxii. 32. The accounts of the reactionary kings Manasseh and Amon, although now by the compiler, give some reference to political events (see xxi. 17, 23 seq.); xxi. 7–15 refer to the exile and find a parallel in xxiii. 26 seq., and xxi. 10 sqq. are replaced in 2 Chron. xxxiii. 10–20 by a novel record of Manasseh’s penitence (see also ibid. v. 23 and note omission of 2 Kings xxiii. 26 from Chron).
Josiah’s reign forms the climax of the history. The usual framework (xxii. 1; 2, xxiii. 28, 30b) is supplemented by narratives dealing with the Temple repairs and the reforms of Josiah. These are closely related to xi. seq. (cf. xxii. 3–7 with xii. 4 sqq.), but show many signs of revision; xxii. 16 seq., xxiii. 26 seq., point distinctly to the exile, and xxiii. 16–20 is an insertion (the altar in v. 16 is already destroyed in v. 15) after 1 Kings xiii. But it is difficult elsewhere to distinguish safely between the original records and the later additions. In their present shape the reforms of Josiah are described in terms that point to an acquaintance with the teaching of Deuteronomy which promulgates the reforms themselves.
The annalistic notice in xxiii. 29 seq. (contrast xxii. 20) should precede v. 28; 2 Chron. xxxv. 20–27 gives another version in the correct position and ignores 2 Kings xxiii. 24–27 (see however the Septuagint). For the last four kings of Judah, the references to the worship at the high places (presumably abolished by Josiah) are wanting, and the literary source is only cited for Jehoiakim; xxiv. 3 seq. (and probably v. 2), which treat the fall of Judah as the punishment for Manasseh’s sins, are a Deuteronomistic insertion (2 Chron. xxxvi. 6 sqq. differs widely; see, however, the Septuagint); v. 13 seq. and v. 15 seq. are duplicates. With xxiv. 18–xxv. 21 cf. Jer. lii. 1–27 (the text of the latter, especially vv. 19 sqq. is superior); and the fragments ibid. xxxix. 1–10. Ch. xxv. 22–26 appears in much fuller form in Jer. xl. seq. (see xl. 7–9, xli. 1–3, 17 seq.). It is noteworthy that Jeremiah does not enter into the history in Kings (contrast Isaiah above). The book of Chronicles in general has a briefer account of the last years, and ignores both the narratives which also appear in Jeremiah and the concluding hopeful note struck by the restoration of Jehoiachin (xxv. 27–30). This last, with the addition of statistical data, forms the present conclusion also of the book of Jeremiah.
Conclusions.—A survey of these narratives as a whole strengthens our impression of the merely mechanical character of the redaction by which they are united. Though editors have written something of their own in almost every chapter, generally from the standpoint of religious pragmatism, there is not the least attempt to work the materials into a history in our sense of the word; and in particular the northern and southern histories are practically independent, being merely pieced together in a sort of mosaic in consonance with the chronological system, which we have seen to be really later than the main redaction. It is very probable that the order of the pieces was considerably readjusted by the author of the chronology; of this indeed the Septuagint still shows traces. But with all its imperfections as judged from a modern standpoint, the redaction has the great merit of preserving material nearer to the actual history than would have been the case had narratives been rewritten from much later standpoints—as often in the book of Chronicles.
Questions of date and of the growth of the literary process are still unsettled, but it is clear that there was an independent history of (north) Israel with its own chronological scheme. It was based upon annals and fuller political records, and at some period apparently passed through circles where the purely domestic stories of the prophets (Elisha) were current. This was ultimately taken over by a Judaean editor who was under the influence of the far-reaching reforms ascribed to the 18th year of Josiah (621 B.C.). Certain passages seem to imply that in his time the Temple was still standing and the Davidic dynasty uninterrupted. Also the phrase “unto this day” sometimes apparently presupposes a pre-exilic date. On the other hand, the history is carried down to the end of Jehoiachin’s life (xxv. 27 refers to his fifty-fifth year, vv. 29 seq. look back on his death), and a number of allusions point decisively to the post-exilic period. Consequently, most scholars are agreed that an original pre-exilic Deuteronomic compilation made shortly after Josiah’s reforms received subsequent additions from a later Deuteronomic writer.
These questions depend upon several intricate literary and historical problems. At the outset (a) the compiler deals with history from the Deuteronomic standpoint, selecting certain notices and referring further to separate chronicles of Israel and Judah. The canonical book of Chronicles refers to such a combined work, but is confined to Judah; it follows the religious judgment passed upon the kings, but it introduces new details apparently derived from extant annals, replaces the annalistic excerpts found in Kings by other passages, or uses new narratives which at times are clearly based upon older sources. Next (b) the Septuagint proves that Kings did not reach its present form until a very late date; “each represents a stage and not always the same stage in the long protracted labours of the redactors” (Kuenen). In agreement with this are the unambiguous indications of the post-exilic age (especially in the Judaean history) consisting of complete passages, obvious interpolations, and also sporadic phrases in narratives whose pre-exilic origin is sometimes clear and sometimes only to be presumed. Further (c), the Septuagint supports the independent conclusion that the elaborate synchronisms belong to a late stage in the redaction. Consequently it is necessary to allow that the previous arrangement of the material may have been different; the actual wording of the introductory notices was necessarily also affected. In general, it becomes ever more difficult to distinguish between passages incorporated by an early redactor and those which may have been inserted later, though possibly from old sources. Where the regular framework is disturbed such considerations become more cogent. The relation of annalistic materials in 1 Sam. (xiii. i; xiv. 47–51, &c.) to the longer detailed narratives will bear upon the question, as also the relation of 2 Sam. ix–xx. to 1 Kings i. seq. (see Samuel, Books of). Again (d) the lengths of the reigns of the Judaean kings form an integral part of the framework, and their total, with fifty years of exile, allows four hundred and eighty years from the beginning of the Temple to the return from Babylon. This round number (cf. again 1 Kings vi. 1) points to a date subsequent to 537, and Robertson Smith has observed that almost all events dated by the years of the kings of Jerusalem have reference to the affairs of the Temple. This suggests a connexion between the chronology and the incorporation of those narratives in which the Temple is clearly the centre of interest. (e) But, apart from the question of the origin of the more detailed Judaean records, the arguments for a pre-exilic Judaean Deuteronomic compilation are not quite decisive. The phrase “unto this day” is not necessarily valid (cf. 2 Chron. v. 9, viii. 8, xxi. 10 with 1 Kings viii. 8, ix. 21, 2 Kings viii. 22), and depends largely upon the compiler’s sagacity. Also, the existence of the Temple and of the Davidic dynasty (1 Kings viii. 14–53; ix. 3; xi. 36–38; xv. 4; 2 Kings viii. 19; cf. 2 Chron. xiii. 5) is equally applicable to the time of the second temple when Zerubbabel, the Davidic representative, kindled new hopes and aspirations. Indeed, if the object of the Deuteronomic compiler is to show from past history that “the sovereign is responsible for the purity of the national religion” (Moore, Ency. Bib. col. 2079), a date somewhere after the death of Jehoiachin (released in 561) in the age of Zerubbabel and the new Temple equally satisfies the conditions. With this is concerned (f) the question whether, on historical grounds, the account of the introduction of Deuteronomic reforms by Josiah is trustworthy. Moreover, although a twofold Deuteronomic redaction of Kings is generally recognized, the criteria for the presumably pre-exilic form are not so decisive as those which certainly distinguish the post-exilic portions, and it is frequently very difficult to assign Deuteronomic passages to the earlier rather than to the later. Again, apart from the contrast between the Israelite detailed narratives (relatively early) and those of Judaean origin (often secondary), it is noteworthy that the sympathetic treatment of northern history in 2 Kings xiii. 4 seq. 23, xiv. 26 has literary parallels in the Deuteronomic redaction of Judges (where Israelite tradition is again predominant), but is quite distinct from the hostile feeling to the north which is also Deuteronomic. Even the northern prophet Hosea (q.v.) approximates the Deuteronomic standpoint, and the possibility that the first Deuteronomic compilation of Kings could originate outside Judah is strengthened by the fact that an Israelite source could be drawn upon for an impartial account of Judaean history (2 Kings xiv. 8–15). Finally, (g) literary and historical problems here converge. Although Judaean writers ultimately rejected as heathen a people who could claim to be followers of Yahweh (Ezra iv. 2; 2 Kings xvii. 28, 33; contrast ibid. 34–40, a secondary insertion), the anti-Samaritan feeling had previously been at most only in an incipient stage, and there is reason to infer that relations between the peoples of north and south had been closer. The book of Kings reveals changing historical conditions in its literary features, and it is significant that the very age where the background is to be sought is that which has been (intentionally?) left most obscure: the chronicler’s history of the Judaean monarchy (Chron.—Ezra—Nehemiah), as any comparison will show, has its own representation of the course of events, and has virtually superseded both Kings and Jeremiah, which have now an abrupt conclusion. (See further S. A. Cook, Jew. Quart. Rev. (1907), pp. 158 sqq.; and the articles Jews: History, §§ 20, 22; Palestine: History).
Literature.—A. Kuenen, Einleitung; J. Wellhausen, Compos. d. Hexateuch, pp. 266–302; H. Winckler, Alttest. Untersuchungen (1892); and B. Stade, Akademische Reden (1899; on 1 Kings v.–vii.; 2 Kings x.–xiv.; xv.–xxi.); S. R. Driver, Lit. of O. T. (1909); see also C. Holzhey, Das Buch. d. Könige (1899); the commentaries of Benzinger (1899) and Kittel (1900), and especially F. C. Kent, Israel’s Hist. and Biog. Narr. (1905). The article by W. R. Smith, Ency. Brit., 9th ed. (partly retained here), is revised and supplemented by E. Kautzsch in the Ency. Bib. For the Hebrew text see Klostermann’s Sam. u. Könige (1887); C. F. Burney, Notes on the Hebrew Text (1903); and Stade and Schwally’s edition in Haupt’s Sacred Books of the Old Testament (1904). For English readers, J. Skinner’s commentary in the Century Bible, and W. E. Barnes in the Cambridge Bible, are useful introductions. (S. A. C.)
- Cp. the brief annalistic form of the Babylonian chronicles (for a specimen, see C. F. Kent, Israel’s Hist. and Biog. Narratives, p. 502 seq.). For a synchronistic history of Assyria and Babylonia, prepared for diplomatic purposes, see Schrader’s Keilinschr. Bibl. i. 194 sqq.; also L. W. King, Studies in Eastern Hist. i. (Tukulti-Ninib), pp. i, 75 seq. (with interesting variant traditions).
- The term “Israel” as applied to the northern kingdom is apt to be ambiguous, since as a general national name, with a religious significance, it can include or suggest the inclusion of Judah.
- Here and elsewhere a careful study (e.g. of the marginal references in the Revised Version) will prove the close relation between the “Deuteronomic” passages and the book of Deuteronomy itself. The bearing of this upon the traditional date of that book should not be overlooked.
- See art. Jeroboam; also W. R. Smith, Old Test. in Jew. Church, pp. 117 sqq.; H. Winckler, Alttest. Untersuchungen, pp. 1 sqq., and the subsequent criticisms by C. F. Burney (Kings, pp. 163 sqq.); J. Skinner (Kings, pp. 443 sqq.); and Ed. Meyer (Israeliten u. Nachbarstämme, pp. 357 sqq.).
- Notice should everywhere be taken of those prophetical stories which have the linguistic features of the Deuteronomic writers, or which differ in style and expression from the prophecies of Amos, Hosea and others, previous to Jeremiah.
- The division of the two books at this point is an innovation first made in the LXX. and Vulgate.
- Both xiv. 22 and xv. 5 presuppose fuller records of which 2 Chron. xxvi. 6–7, 16–20 may represent merely later and less trustworthy versions.
- See F. Rühl, Deutsche Zeit. f. Geschichtwissens, xii. 54 sqq.; also Jews: History, § 12.
- See further the special study by E. Day, Journ. Bib. Lit. (1902), pp. 197 sqq.
- Cf. similarly the prophetic narratives in the books of Samuel (q.v.).
- “The LXX. of Kings is not a corrupt reproduction of the Hebrew receptus, but represents another recension of the text. Neither recension can claim absolute superiority. The defects of the LXX. lie on the surface, and are greatly aggravated by the condition of the Greek text, which has suffered much in transmission, and particularly has in many places been corrected after the later Greek versions that express the Hebrew receptus of the 2nd century of our era. Yet the LXX. not only preserves many good readings in detail, but throws much light on the long-continued process of redaction at the hand of successive editors or copyists of which the extant Hebrew of Kings is the outcome. Even the false readings of the Greek are instructive, for both recensions were exposed to corrupting influences of precisely the same kind” (W. R. Smith).
- See W. R. Smith, Journ. of Philology, x. 209 sqq.; Prophets of Israel, p. 147. seq.; and K. Marti, Ency. Bib. art. “Chronology.”
- Against earlier doubts by Havet (1878), Vernes (1887) and Horst (1888), see W. E. Addis, Documents of Hexateuch, ii. 2 sqq.; but the whole question has been reopened by E. Day (loc. cit. above) and R. H. Kennett (Journ. Theol. Stud., July 1906, 481 sqq.).
- See Kennett. Journ. Theol. Stud. 1905, pp. 169 sqq.; 1906, pp. 488 sqq.; and cf. J. A. Montgomery, The Samaritans (1907), pp. 47, 53 seq., 57, 59, 61 sqq.
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