Kings & Prophets

Few Christians have a deep understanding of the Old Testament kings of Israel, or the prophets and their messages. The purpose of this series is to allow anybody to quickly gain a better understanding of those things, as well as an appreciation of how that information is relevant today. The Old Testament prophets were real people who proclaimed important messages from God that have stayed true for thousands of years. Jesus and the apostles thought the kings and prophets were important, so we should, too.

It is no wonder that few Christians have deep familiarity of the kings and prophets. Christians tend to read the New Testament, while the kings and prophets are in the Old Testament. The books of the kings and prophets  are not arranged in chronological order, the history of ancient Israel and its neighbors is complex, and the geography of the region is an ever-shifting jigsaw puzzle. The language of the prophets is often symbolic or metaphorical, and the intended messages seem to be shrouded in mystery. Lastly, many people assume that Old Testament prophecies have mostly been fulfilled, so they must not still be very important.

Perhaps our attitudes would change if we thought of prophets as truth tellers, not fortune tellers. Their truths stand important today. Besides, it may be that a number of their prophecies of the future have not yet been fulfilled.

A Kingdom Divided

This episode sets the stage for the rest of the Kings and Prophets Series. 1 Kings 11 describes Solomon’s later life and how he fell into idolatry by worshiping the gods of his foreign wives. By building temples and shrines to these false gods, Solomon led the whole Israelite nation into idolatry. Obviously, this angered God, so God started setting the stage to discipline the Israelites in hopes they would return to him.

As soon as Rehoboam inherited the crown from Solomon, he realized the country was in trouble. He needed to raise taxes to continue the public projects, but his subjects did not want that. When he aggressively pressed the issue, ten of the tribes of Israel rebelled and went off on their own, rallying under the leadership of Solomon’s enemy, Jeroboam. From that point on, there were two nations.

The southern nation was made up of two tribes of Israel: Judah and the tiny tribe of Benjamin. These became known as the Southern Kingdom, the Kingdom of Judah, or Judah. The first king of this nation was King Rehoboam. One of the most important assets of the Southern Kingdom was Jerusalem, including the Temple located there. The kings of the Southern Kingdom will be descendants of King David. It is the Southern Kingdom that will eventually go into exile in Babylon, and return from there.

Rehoboam and Jeroboam
Primary Scriptures:
1 Kings 11-14, 2 Chronicles 10-12
Story Summary:
Split of Israel into the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdoms
Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom
930-915 BC