Who wrote the books of the Bible and when?

      1 Kings, beginning the coverage of the kings of Israel and Judah, was written about the sixth century B.C. Although the author is unknown, some speculate that it may have been either Jeremiah or a group of prophets. 1 Kings and 2 Kings are considered part of the Early Prophets of the Hebrew Bible and are one book (covering a period of about 350 years), though separated for easier reading. 1 Kings covers 100 years, including the death of David through the time of Elijah the prophet and describes the separation of Israel into two kingdoms. Both 1 Kings and 2 Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible.

      The first Book of Kings includes accounts of the following events:

  • David's son Adonijah attempts to set himself up as king
  • David's son Solomon chosen as successor
  • God grants Solomon great wisdom and wealth
  • The building and dedication of Solomon's Temple
  • Ark of the Covenant brought to rest in the temple
  • Solomon's splendor and a visit by the Queen of Sheba
  • Solomon's wives and adversaries
  • Death of Solomon and succession by his son Rehoboam
  • Separation of Israel into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, with Jeroboam king of Israel and Rehoboam king of Judah
  • Israel's worshipping of idols and prophecies against Jeroboam
  • The kings of Judah (Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram)
  • The kings of Israel (Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah)
  • Accounts of Elijah, Elisha and Micaiah the prophets

        "Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distiguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
        The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for -- both riches and honor -- so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life."
(1 Kings 3:7-14)

      2 Kings, covering the destruction of Israel and Judah, was written about the sixth century B.C. Although the author is unknown, some have speculated that it may have been Jeremiah or a group of prophets. It is the continuation of 1 Kings over a period of about 250 years, during which time God sent prophets to warn both Israel and Judah of the consequences of their disobedience, which was destruction by foreign empires. (Samaria, the capital of Israel, was destroyed in 722 B.C. by the Assyrians and Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, was destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians.) Both 1 Kings and 2 Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible.

      The second Book of Kings includes accounts of the following events:

  • Elijah taken up to heaven
  • Miracles through Elisha the prophet
  • Attacks on Israel from neighboring countries
  • The kings of Israel and Judah
  • King Jehu of Israel puts Ahab's family to death and kills the priests of Baal
  • Jehoiada the priest has Athaliah killed for murdering the royal family
  • Hoshea becomes the last king of Israel
  • Assyria destroys Israel because of their sins, the Israelites are exiled and foreigners resettle Samaria
  • King Hezekiah brings Judah back to the Lord and the Lord delivers them from the Assyrian army
  • Isaiah prophesies about Judah's captivity in Babylon
  • Judah turns to idol worship
  • Hilkiah the high priest finds the Book of the Law and King Josiah reads it to the people of Judah
  • Judah returns to doing evil and Jerusalem is destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon
  • The people of Judah are taken into captivity to Babylon

        The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as slaves." Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side."
        She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."
(2 Kings 4:1-7)

The first four kings who ruled over the nation of Israel were Saul, Saul's son Ishbosheth (unofficially), David, and David's son Solomon. After Solomon's death, the nation was divided in two -- the northern kingdom of Israel (consisting of the ten tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher) and the southern kingdom of Judah (consisting of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin), with Jerusalem as its capital. Judah remained loyal to the house of David and established Solomon's son Rehoboam as ruler, while Israel chose Jeroboam, formerly one of Solomon's officials who rebelled, as their king. This was in fulfillment of prophecy, due to the sins of King Solomon (1 Kings 11:29-39).

Kings of Israel

Jeroboam, ruled for 22 years between 930 and 909 B.C., established the first Israeli capital city of Shechem,
Nadab, ruled for 2 years,
Baasha, ruled for 24 years,
Elah, ruled for 2 years,
Zimri, ruled for 7 days,
Omri, ruled for 12 years,
Ahab, ruled for 22 years,
Ahaziah, ruled for 1 year,
Jehoram (Joram), ruled for 10 years,
Jehu, ruled for 28 years,
Jehoahaz, ruled for 17 years,
Jehoash (Joash), ruled for 16 years,
Jeroboam II, ruled for 41 years,
Zachariach, ruled for 6 months,
Shallum, ruled for 1 month,
Menahem, ruled for 10 years,
Pekahiah, ruled for 2 years,
Pekah, ruled for 20 years,
Hoshea, ruled for 9 years,

Kings of of Judah

Rehoboam, ruled for 17 years,
Abijah (Abijam), ruled for 3 years,
Asa, ruled for 41 years,
Jehoshaphat, ruled for 25 years,
Jehoram (Joram), ruled for 8 years,
Ahaziah, ruled for 1 year,
Athaliah, ruled for 6 years,
Joash (Jehoash), ruled for 40 years,
Amaziah, ruled for 29 years,
Azariah (Uzziah), ruled for 52 years,
Jotham, ruled for 16 years,
Ahaz, ruled for 16 years,
Hezekiah, ruled for 29 years,
Manasseh, ruled for 55 years,
Amon, ruled for 2 years,
Josiah, ruled for 31 years,
Jehoahaz, ruled for 3 months,
Jehoiakim, ruled for 11 years,
Jehoiachin, ruled for 3 months,
Zedekiah, ruled for 11 years,

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