Best Nine 1 Kings Commentaries You Should Read First

By | 2018-02-02T10:30:21+00:00 June 6th, 2017|0 Comments
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A1 and 2 Kings (like 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Chronicles) are actually one literary work, called in Hebrew tradition simply “Kings.” The division between 1 and 2 Kings has been made at a somewhat arbitrary and yet appropriate place, shortly after the deaths of Ahab of the northern kingdom (22:37) and Jehoshaphat of the southern kingdom (22:50). Placing the division at this point causes the account of the reign of Ahaziah of Israel to overlap the end of 1 Kings (22:51–53) and the beginning of 2 Kings (ch. 1)1Source

The books show that Israel suffers again and again because of its great sinfulness (2 Kings 17:7–23; 24:1–4). Yet there is still hope for the nation, because God’s chosen family of kings has not come to an end (2 Kings 25:27–30), and God remains ready to forgive those who repent (1 Kings 8:22–61).2Source

Best Commentaries on 1 Kings Commentaries

Best 1 Kings Commentaries


Berit Olam: 1 Kings

This Berit Olam study by Jerome T. Walsh explores the narrative world created by 1 Kings’ ancient Israelite author: the people who inhabit it.  Walsh’s clear introduction explains the significance of 1 Kings as a historical narrative.  Walsh also explains how the rich traditions of Hebrew prose narrative and language affect our reading of 1 Kings.  This is an outstanding reference work for anyone who teaches or preaches from 1 Kings and arguably the best commentary on 1 Kings available.


1 & 2 Kings (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series)

Iain Provan, PhD – Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada – presents 1 & 2 Kings from the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series.

This easy-to-read series helps any reader (be they pastors, teachers or lay people) navigate the strange and sometimes intimidating literary terrain of the Bible.

Contributors are carefully selected to write the volumes and tackle the task of interpretation using the full range of critical methodologies and practices available. They are all people of faith who hold the text in the highest and most cherished regard.

These are accessible works that break down walls between the ancient and modern worlds.


1 and 2 Kings (The NIV Application Commentary)

A. H. Konkel, the President of Providence College and Seminary in Otterburne Manitoba, Canada delivers a solid commentary on 1 and 2 Kings in the NIV Application Commentary.  NIV Application Commentaries have three sections in each chapter: a textual analysis, a section bridging the ancient to the modern, and then modern applications.


From Glory To Ruin: 1 Kings Simply Explained (Welwyn Commentaries)

An easily digestible commentary on 1 Kings is presented by Roger Ellsworth in From Glory To Ruin: 1 Kings Simply Explained (Welwyn Commentaries).

Beginning with the death of David and the rise of Solomon, 1 Kings charts the history of Israel through the divided monarchy, when Ahab reigned in the north and Jehoshaphat reigned in the south.


I Kings (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)

Biblical scholar Mordechai Cogan offers a new translation, with introduction and exhaustive commentary, in 1 Kings – part of the Anchor Bible Commentary series.  This series is viewed by many as the definitive and most ground-breaking of the commentaries for use in both Christian and Jewish scholarship and worship.

Cogan’s translation brings new immediacy to well-known passages and his sweeping bibliography includes almost a thousand articles and books.  This commentary demonstrates Cogan’s mastery of the 1 Kings political history and the themes of moral and religious failure that led to Israel’s defeat and exile.

Additionally, the book contains a 150-page informative introduction, about 150 pages that describe what each chapter contains, and about a half dozen pages about the extra-biblical information.  There’s also a comprehensive index, English translation of the biblical Hebrew, scholarly notes, maps and more.


1 And 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary

Written by D.J. Wiseman – this commentary is part of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries.

The introduction to each Tyndale volume gives a concise but thorough description of the authorship, date and historical background of the biblical book under consideration. Tyndale commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. Additionally, it comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The original, unrevised text of Samuel has been completely retypeset and printed in a larger, more attractive format with the beautiful new cover design for the series.


New International Biblical Commentary: 1 And 2 Kings

Iain W. Provan – the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College – writes 1 And 2 Kings for the New International Biblical Commentary. With an easy-to read and accessible style, he examines Kings as narrative literature with historiographical intent (designed to teach its readers about God and the Ways of God).  Provan does a wonderful job focusing the reader’s attention on themes that are repeated in Kings, like God’s promise.


1, 2 Kings: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture

Paul R. House is the primary author of 1, 2 Kings: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture from The New American Commentary. Highly regarded as a go-to for the minister or Bible student who wants to understand and expound their understanding of the Scriptures, this series is readable and scholarly simultaneously.

Key features include: commentary based on the new international version, sound scholarly methodology that reflects research in the original languages, NIV text printed in the body of the commentary, interpretation emphasizing the theological unity of each book, and readable and applicable exposition.


1 Kings: The Wisdom And the Folly (Focus on the Bible)

IFocus on the Bible – 1 Kings: The Wisdom and the Folly Dale Ralph Davis – minister in residence at the First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina – brings cultural and historical light to commentary.

Adding a pastor’s heart for personal application, Davis writes 1 Kings as a continuation of a narrative of the history of Israel which begins in 1 Samuel and continues through into 1 & 2 Kings.

Although the events and issues in 1st Kings can be a struggle, Davis helps readers apply them to the contemporary settings of the 21st century with humor and scholarship.



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