What Is the Book of Kings About?

Time: 3 Minutes

Hey Friend!

Our editorial team wrote this book introduction for you. We hope it helps you find your bearings in the Bible story, and inspires you to open this book of the Bible!

“Long live the king!” is the climax of fairy tales. It’s also an experience that feels far from reality. But the Bible holds out hope to us that one day, we will shout the same line at the end of our story. The book of Kings leaves us longing for that day.

The book of Kings is a royal adventure that follows the dynasty of King David. It begins with the golden boy, David’s son Solomon, inheriting the throne (1 Kings 1). Solomon has it all: wisdom, riches, good looks, and authority. He even constructs a beautiful temple for God (1 Kings 5-6)—something God prohibited Solomon’s father from doing (1 Chronicles 22:8).

Though Solomon begins as a faithful king, he eventually breaks every law God gave Israelite kings—and loses his shine (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). Because of this, the kingdom of God turns its attention from the golden boy to worshipping a golden calf (1 Kings 12:25-33), and the kingdom deteriorates.

Quickly, after Solomon’s death, the kingdom splits. The kingdom of Israel in the northern part divides from the kingdom of Judah in the southern part (1 Kings 12:16-20). (The book of Kings, itself, is divided into two in our Bibles, but it is probably best read as one book because it tells one story.)

The book of Kings gives us moral judgments, telling us whether each king did right or wrong in the eyes of the LORD. God also gives us his interpretation of Israel’s situation as he speaks to his kings through the voice of prophets. It’s up to two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, to serve as a mouthpiece for God to correct the evil kings’ behavior.

The kings would not listen, nor rule God’s people according to God’s law. So God led them into exile, and gave them over to foreign powers, just as he promised (Deuteronomy 28:45-68).

The book of Kings leaves us groaning for a good king, a King who keeps the Law of God and rules in righteousness.

So, why read this book if it’s a story about evil kings being cursed and punished by God, until he says enough is enough and brings destruction to them both? Sounds straightforward and somewhat depressing. It would be—if we missed the whole point of the book.

The book of Kings leaves us groaning for a good king, a King who keeps the Law of God and rules in righteousness. This book reveals this need and stirs anticipation for the one, true, eternal King from David’s line to arrive. The book of Kings prepares us to rejoice over God’s fulfilled promise to send his own Son, Jesus—a descendant of David—to rule eternally (2 Samuel 7:16; Matthew 1:1).

For all the records in this book, don’t dismiss it as uninteresting. It’s full of riveting stories including healing bones (2 Kings 13:21), blazing chariots of fire (2 Kings 2:11), and miraculous resurrections (2 Kings 4). Find out for yourself why earthly kings are ill-equipped and ineffective in ruling over your life, and you will be royally rewarded. Long live King Jesus!