FIRST BOOK OF THE KINGS
THE THIRD BOOK OF THE KINGS
WE cannot with greater certainty than mere opinion, determine to whose instrumentality we are indebted for this and the following book of the Kings. It hath been generally supposed that some of the Scribes in the respective ages of the Church, compiled those histories. But there is no certainty on the point. But though we are left to mere conjecture concerning the writer, there can be none concerning the authenticity, or divine authority, of those sacred Books of God. For beside the historical part, many sweet passages are here and there treasured in them, which stamp their truth, and display the seal of the Spirit upon them.
This book of the Kings, and the second also, which is but a continuation of the same, contain the history of the Jewish Church and nation from the end of David's reign to the destruction of Solomon's temple, comprising a period of somewhat more than four hundred and thirty years, beginning at about 1016 years before the coming of Christ, and ending with the commencement of the Babylonish captivity. Solomon's reign comprised a period of about forty years. After the division of the kingdom in the succeeding reign of Rehoboam, the kingdom of Israel, which forms one branch, was continued under the successive government of nineteen kings; and the kingdom of Judah, the other branch, under the government of the same number of kings. But what becomes more immediately interesting in the annals of those different monarchs, is the marked attention which is all along paid by the sacred historian, in the preservation of the genealogy of Christ. The prophets Elijah and Elisha, in their respective ministry, form a very interesting part in both these books of the kings.
I only beg the Reader here, in the opening of this book of the Kings, to be continually on the lookout for what the Holy Ghost is teaching the church in it concerning Jesus, and his gospel. The more hidden and obscure these precious subjects are, the more earnestly should our diligence be called forth in the investigation. It will be an ample reward to labour, if, through divine teaching, we are enabled to discover what the church in those distant periods, was taught concerning the person, and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. Depend upon it, Reader, in no age of the church hath the Lord left himself without witness, that the Scriptures testify of him. Vouchsafe, blessed Spirit, in this thy gracious office-work of glorifying to take of the things which are here of Jesus, and show both to Writer and Reader. The blessing we implore from thee, O Lord, on the present occasion, is, that a spirit of wisdom and revelation may be given us in the knowledge of him; that our souls, by faith, may have a clear apprehension of the things which are freely given to us of God.