Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online
Picture Study Bible with Maps and Background Information

1 Kings 20

1 - Ben Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together; and there were thirty-two kings with him, with horses and chariots. He went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it.

2 - He sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel, into the city, and said to him, "Thus says Ben Hadad,

3 - 'Your silver and your gold is mine. Your wives also and your children, even the best, are mine.'"

4 - The king of Israel answered, "It is according to your saying, my lord, O king. I am yours, and all that I have."

5 - The messengers came again, and said, "Ben Hadad says, 'I sent indeed to you, saying, "You shall deliver me your silver, and your gold, and your wives, and your children;

6 - but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they will search your house, and the houses of your servants; whatever is pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hand, and take it away."'"

7 - Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, "Please notice how this man seeks mischief; for he sent to me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I didn't deny him."

8 - All the elders and all the people said to him, "Don't listen, and don't consent."

9 - Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, "Tell my lord the king, 'All that you sent for to your servant at the first I will do; but this thing I cannot do.'"The messengers departed, and brought him back the message.

10 - Ben Hadad sent to him, and said, "The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria will be enough for handfuls for all the people who follow me."

11 - The king of Israel answered, "Tell him, 'Don't let him who puts on his armor brag like he who takes it off.'"

12 - When Ben Hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings, in the pavilions, he said to his servants, "Prepare to attack!" They prepared to attack the city.

13 - Behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel, and said, "The LORD says, 'Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today. Then you will know that I am The LORD.'"

14 - Ahab said, "By whom?"He said, "The LORD says, 'By the young men of the princes of the provinces.'"Then he said, "Who shall begin the battle?"He answered, "You."

15 - Then he mustered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two. After them, he mustered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.

16 - They went out at noon. But Ben Hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty-two kings who helped him.

17 - The young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben Hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, "Men are coming out from Samaria."

18 - He said, "If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, take them alive."

19 - So these went out of the city, the young men of the princes of the provinces, and the army which followed them.

20 - They each killed his man. The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them. Ben Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen.

21 - The king of Israel went out, and struck the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.

22 - The prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said to him, "Go, strengthen yourself, and mark, and see what you do; for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against you."

23 - The servants of the king of Syria said to him, "Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they.

24 - Do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their place.

25 - Muster an army, like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. We will fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than them."He listened to their voice, and did so.

26 - At the return of the year, Ben Hadad mustered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.

27 - The children of Israel were mustered and given provisions, and went against them. The children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of young goats; but the Syrians filled the country.

28 - A man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, "The LORD says, 'Because the Syrians have said, "The LORD is a god of the hills, but he is not a god of the valleys"; therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am The LORD.'"

29 - They encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand footmen of the Syrians in one day.

30 - But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men who were left. Ben Hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner room.

31 - His servants said to him, "See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life."

32 - So they put sackcloth on their bodies and ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, "Your servant Ben Hadad says, 'Please let me live.'"He said, "Is he still alive? He is my brother."

33 - Now the men observed diligently, and hurried to take this phrase; and they said, "Your brother Ben Hadad."Then he said, "Go, bring him."Then Ben Hadad came out to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.

34 - Ben Hadad said to him, "The cities which my father took from your father I will restore. You shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.""I", said Ahab, "will let you go with this covenant." So he made a covenant with him, and let him go.

35 - A certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow by The LORD's word, "Please strike me!"The man refused to strike him.

36 - Then he said to him, "Because you have not obeyed The LORD's voice, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion will kill you." As soon as he had departed from him, a lion found him and killed him.

37 - Then he found another man, and said, "Please strike me."The man struck him and wounded him.

38 - So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes.

39 - As the king passed by, he cried to the king; and he said, "Your servant went out into the middle of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man to me, and said, 'Guard this man! If by any means he is missing, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.'

40 - As your servant was busy here and there, he was gone."The king of Israel said to him, "So shall your judgment be. You yourself have decided it."

41 - He hurried, and took the headband away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized that he was one of the prophets.

42 - He said to him, "The LORD says, 'Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life will take the place of his life, and your people take the place of his people.'"

43 - The king of Israel went to his house sullen and angry, and came to Samaria.

1 Kings Images and Notes

The Books of Kings

1 Kings 2:11 - And the days that David reigned over Israel [were] forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
1 Kings 2:12 - Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

1 Kings 8:27 - But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

Reconstruction of Solomons Temple
Reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon

1 Kings 8;6 - And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy [place, even] under the wings of the cherubims.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survey - Kings
Hebrew Name - Melechim "kings"
Greek Name - basilia (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Jeremiah (According to Tradition)
Date - From 1015-562 BC Approximately
Theme of 1 Kings - The division of the kingdom
Theme of 2 Kings - The history of Israel and Judah
Types and Shadows - In Kings Jesus is the peaceful King

ARCHAEOLOGY

Ark Relief at Capernaum Synagogue

Close up of the Sculptured Block of the Ark at Capernaum

The ancient Ark of the covenant of Israel is one the most famous items in all of antiquity. There is no trace of the Ark of the covenant, yet it is memorialized by this Scripture block at the synagogue of Capernaum, created in Greco-Roman style. In the Bible the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, and later returned because of sudden plagues that happened upon their lands. Through the valley of sorek it was taken back to Israel to Beth-shemesh.

Summary of The Books of Kings

The books of Kings were originally one book in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts, and the writers of the Septuagint divided them. They  were called the Third and Fourth Books of Kingdoms, although in the Hebrew  manuscript the title was called Kings, exactly the same as we have in our English Bible. The books of Kings follow the books of Samuel chronologically.

The time period extends from the anointing of King Solomon (1015 BC) throughout the history of Israel and Judah all the way to the death of Jehoiachin after he was freed from Babylonian imprisonment (561 BC). The book of 1 Kings begins with Solomon, and not David or Saul because the books of Samuel cover their lives. Under King Solomon the dominion of Israel extended from the Euphrates River all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and down to the  Egyptian border (1 Kings 4:21). At the end of each the kingdoms of Israel and Judah the remaining kings were not seeking God and became a sad remnant who were puppets of either Egypt or Assyria or Babylon until they were finally uprooted and taken away. The beginning of all of their problems happened after the death of Solomon when his sons Rehoboam and Jeroboam divided the kingdom, 10 of the tribes went with Jeroboam to the north (Israel), and 2 of the tribes remained with Rehoboam in the south (Judah). All 19 of Israel's Kings followed the heathen nations and were idol worshipers and evil, leading Israel into sin bringing upon themselves the wrath of God. They were destroyed and taken captive to Assyria in 722 BC. In the southern kingdom of Judah 8 out of their 20 Kings sought the Lord and the rest forsook him also bring the wrath of God when the Babylonian captivity took place under King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

It is difficult to give a precise  chronology of the books of Kings. According to  Hebrew tradition Jeremiah was the author, and wrote shortly after the events have taken place. The Books of Chronicles record the events of the same time period from a different perspective.

Quick Reference Map
Map of Israel and Judah During the Period of the Kings
Map of Israel and Judah During the Period of the Kings (Click to Enlarge)

 

The books of Kings may be arranged with this quick outline:

Outline of the Books of Kings

I. The Reign of Solomon (1 Kings 1:1 -14:43)

1) The last days of David (1 Kings 1:1-2:11). Adonijah usurps David's throne, but flees after the anointing of Solomon. David dies and is buried in Jerusalem.
2) Solomon's formal accession to the throne and the early days of his reign (1 Kings 2:12-46).
3) Solomon's request for wisdom and his sagacious decision concerning the disputed child (1 Kings 3).
4) A description of Solomon's power, wealth, and wisdom (1 Kings 4). In this section we learn that Solomon wrote over 3,000 proverbs and 105 songs. For a further discussion of this, see the introduction to Proverbs.
5) The erection of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 5-8).
6) A further description of the splendor of Solomon's kingdom (1 Kings 9-10). After mentioning the stables, the navy and the great riches of the kingdom, the narrative records the visit of the queen of Sheba, who was so impressed by the scene that she remarked, "Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which heard" (1 Kings 10:7).
7) Solomon's wives and apostasy (1 Kings 11). One cannot read this chapter seriously without being saddened. In his search for wealth and pleasure, Solomon contracted a large number of foreign wives—many, no doubt, for political reasons. These women brought their foreign deities with them and eventually Solomon's heart was turned away from the Lord "and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father" (1 Kings 11:4). Whether or not Solomon was "the preacher" of Ecclesiastes cannot be proved beyond doubt. If he was, however, surely the situation to which this chapter bears witness would lead him to the statement of cynicism and despair: "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, saith the preacher" (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

II. The Divided Kingdom (1 Kings 12:1-2 Kings 17:41)

1) The division of the kingdom (1 Kings 12). After Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam became king. Instead of lightening the heavy tax burden which Solomon's extravagances had forced on the people, Rehoboam decided to increase it. Disgruntled, the ten northern tribes chose Jeroboam as their leader and seceded from the union with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In order to keep his people from returning to worship in Jerusalem, where they might be influenced to stand with Rehoboam, the king of the North instituted the worship of the golden calf. This act of political expediency was the major factor in Israel's ultimate humiliation.

2) The remainder of Jeroboam's reign (1 Kings 13:1-14-20). This section includes a rebuke to Jeroboam by a man of God which contains an amazing prophecy concerning the reformation of Josiah (v. 2), which was not to be fulfilled for over 300 years (2 Kings 23:15-18).

3) Rehoboam, Abijam and Asa, kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:21-15:24).

4) Kings of Israel from Nadab to Omri (1 Kings 14:25-16:28).

5) Ahab, Jezebel and Elijah (1 Kings 16:29-22:40). These three individuals stand out as among the more memorable in all the history of Israel, the first two for their consummate wickedness and the latter for his fiery zeal and courageous efforts in the service of God. 1 Kings 17 tells of the feeding of Elijah by the ravens and his boarding at the house of the widow of Zarephath during the three and a half year drought which was on the land. 1 Kings 18 informs us that Jezebel's wickedness prompted her to subsidize Baal worship and a cult of heathen prophets, while she strove to exterminate the prophets of God (verse 13). Also contained in this chapter is the magnificent story of Elijah's "duel" with the prophets of Baal atop Mt. Carmel. 1 Kings 19 records the anger of Jezebel at Elijah's having slain her prophets and her threat upon his life. Elijah is reduced to desperation, but is comforted by the "still, small voice" (verses 11, 12). 1 Kings 20-22 relate other incidents concerning Ahab, including his brutal treatment of Naboth and his death at the hands of the Syrians.

6) Jehoshaphat of Judah (1 Kings 22:41-50).

7) Ahaziah of Israel (1 Kings 22:51-2 Kings 1:18).

8) Elijah's translation and the imparting of his spirit to Elisha (2 Kings 2).

9) Jehoram of Israel (2 Kings 3).

10) The ministry of Elisha the prophet (2 Kings 4-7). Elisha's ministry was characterized by a considerable number of miracles, including the resurrection from the dead of the son of the Shunammite woman, the healing of Naaman's leprosy, and the floating axe head. Ch. 8 records the strange phenomenon of a prophet's anointing the head of a foreign king to punish the prophet's own people. Instructions to this effect had been given to Elijah (I Kings 19:15).

11) Jehoram and Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kings 8:16-29).

12) Jehu, king of Israel (2 Kings 9-10). Having been anointed by Elisha to punish the house of Ahab for its great wickedness, Jehu set about his task with a frightening zeal. Everything which is known of him can be characterized by the statement in 2 Kings 9:20:"he driveth furiously."

13) Miscellaneous kings of Israel and Judah (2 Kings 11-16). During his period Israel reached a period of great prosperity under Jeroboam II, regaining many of the areas which she had previously lost.

14) The captivity of Israel by Assyria in 722 BC (2 Kings 17). The last king of Israel was Hoshea. He, like the nineteen kings before him, was guilty of idolatrous worship. Finally, after repeated efforts by the prophets to turn the people from their idols, God allowed the ten tribes of Israel to be carried out of their homeland.

III. The Kingdom of Judah Alone (2 Kings 18-25)

This section contains an account of the last nine kings of Judah and the fall of Jerusalem. Also see the introduction to the books of Chronicles. Although the books of Kings contain a great deal of historical material, history is not their primary concern. In the Hebrew canon, they are classified, along with Joshua, Judges and the books of Samuel, as "The Prophets." The message is more spiritual than political. The writers of these books have written their history with a focus on devotion to God, the factual information is mentioned for illustration and confirmation. Examining the writings of the prophets is important when researching history, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah. An intimate acquaintance with these prophets is essential for a clear grasp of the meaning of these books.

Quick Reference Maps - 1 Kings

The Period of the Kings
The Empire of David and Solomon
The Kingdom of David
Solomon's Temple Illustration
Chart - The House of the LORD
Ophir and Tarshish
Israel and Judah During the Time of Rehoboam
Samaria
Zaraphath and Mount Carmel
Ramoth Gilead

The First Day. Light.

1 Kings Resources

Saul, Israel's First King
King David
King Solomon
The Divided Kingdom
The Northern Kingdom of Israel
The Southern Kingdom of Judah
The Assyrian Captivity
The Babylonian Captivity

More About the Book of 1 Kings
More About the Book of 2 Kings
1 Kings in the Picture Study Bible
2 Kings in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to the Old Testament
Back to Bible History Online