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I KINGS

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The first half of First Kings traces the life of Soloman.  Under his leadership Israel rises to the peak of her size and glory.  Solomon's great accomplishments, including the unsurpassed splendor of the templewhich he constructs in Jerusalem, bring him worldwide fame and respect.  However, Solomon's zeal for God diminishes in his later years, as pagan wives turn his heart away from worship in the temple of God.  As a result, the king with the divided heart leaves behind a divided kingdom.  For the next century, the Book of First Kings traces the twin histories of two sets of kings and two nations of disobedient people who are growing indifferent to God's prophets and precepts. 

     Like the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings were originally one in the Hebrew Bible.  The original title was Melechim, "Kings", taken from the first word in 1:1, Vehamelech, " "Now king".  The Septuagint artificially divided the book of Kings in the middle of the story of Ahaziah into two books.  It called the books of Samuel " First and Second Kingdoms" and the books of Kings "Third and Fourth Kingdoms".  The Septuagint may have divided Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books each because the Greek required a greater amount of scroll space than did the Hebrew.  The Latin title for these books is Liber Regum Tertius et Quartus, " Third and Fourth Books of Kings".

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