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.
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 Chr. 28-2 Chr. 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 kingly.
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 and Jer. 52; 39:1-10; 40:7-41:10. There are also many undesigned coincidences between Jeremiah and Kings (2Kings 21-23 and Jer. 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.
The sources of the narrative are referred to (1) "the book of the acts of Solomon" (1Kings 11:41); (2) the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah" (14:29; 15:7, 23, etc.); (3) the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel" (14:19; 15:31; 16:14, 20, 27, etc.).
The date of its composition was some time between B.C. 561, the date of the last chapter (2 Kings 25), when Jehoiachin was released from captivity by Evil-merodach, and B.C. 538, the date of the decree of deliverance by Cyrus.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll gain access to a vast digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads to minimize distractions from God's Word. Try it free for 30 days!