Kings, The Books of: 1. The two books of Kings formed originally but one book in the Hebrew
Scriptures. The present division into two books was first made by
the LXX., which now, with the Vulgate, numbers them as the third
and fourth books of Kings, the two books of Samuel being the first
and second books of Kings.
2. They contain the annals of the Jewish commonwealth from the
accession of Solomon till the subjugation of the kingdom by
Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (apparently a period of about
four hundred and fifty-three years). The books of Chronicles
(q.v.) are more comprehensive in their contents than those of
Kings. The latter synchronize with
(1 Chronicles 28:1-2 Chronicles 36:21) While in
the Chronicles greater prominence is given to the priestly or
Levitical office, in the Kings greater prominence is given to the
3. The authorship of these books is uncertain. There are some
portions of them and of Jeremiah that are almost identical, e.g.,
(2 Kings 24:18-25:30; Jeremiah 52:1-34; 39:1-10; 40:7-16; 41:1-10) There are also
many undesigned coincidences between Jeremiah and Kings
(2 Kings 21:1-26)
(Jeremiah 7:15; 15:4; 19:3) etc., and events recorded in Kings of
which Jeremiah had personal knowledge. These facts countenance in
some degree the tradition that Jeremiah was the author of the books
of Kings. But the more probable supposition is that Ezra, after the
Captivity, compiled them from documents written perhaps by David,
Solomon, Nathan, Gad, and Iddo, and that he arranged them in the
order in which they now exist.
4. In the threefold division of the Scriptures by the Jews, these
books are ranked among the "Prophets." They are frequently quoted
or alluded to by our Lord and his apostles
(Matthew 6:29; 12:42)
(Luke 4:25,26; 10:4) comp.
(2 Kings 4:29; Mark 1:6) comp.
(2 Kings 1:8)
(Matthew 3:4) etc..
5. The sources of the narrative are referred to
a. "the book of the acts of Solomon"
(1 Kings 11:41)
b. the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah"
(1 Kings 14:29; 15:7,23) etc.;
c. the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel"
(1 Kings 14:19; 15:31; 16:14,20,27) etc.
6. The date of its composition was some time between B.C. 561 the date
of the last chapter
(2 Kings 25:1)ff when Jehoiachin was released
from captivity by Evil-merodach, and B.C. 538 the date of the
decree of deliverance by Cyrus.