- 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings were written by Baruch who was Jeremiah’s scribe. Originally these four books were one book called The Book of Kings. In Catholic Bibles the four books can be labelled 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 3 Kings and 4 Kings.
- The history covers 1105 BC to 586 BC. It was written during the Babylonian exile.
- Baruch compiled the books using the Annals of King David, the Annals of the Kings of Judah, the records of Samuel the Seer, the records of Nathan the Prophet, and the records of Gad the Seer. These records were kept in the First Temple but destroyed when the Temple was destroyed.
- The book opens with the birth of Samuel. Elkanah and Hannah Samuel’s parents lived at Ramah 8 km north of present-day Jerusalem.
- Samuel went to serve in the sanctuary at Shiloh 31 km north of Jerusalem under the priest Eli when he was about three years old.
- The Ark of Covenant was captured by the Philistines and then returned, Samuel the prophet anoints Saul as King of Israel, Saul fails, Samuel anoints David King of Israel, David and Goliath, David spares Saul’s life, Saul’s son Jonathan is helpful to David, Saul is finished.
- Genre: History of Saul and David, the first kings of Israel and the prophet Samuel.
- King David consolidates his reign, the Ark is brought to Jerusalem, the prophet Nathan advises David, God’s promises to David, David and Bathsheba, Nathan rebukes David, David’s son Absalom organizes a rebellion against his father but dies, David’s wars against the Philistines, David’s song of praise.
- King David reigned from 1010 to 970 BC.
- Genre: the Kingdom of David and consolidation of Israel as one nation.
- Adonijah and Solomon vie to be king as David is old, David favours Solomon. Solomon’s throne is established, God gives Solomon wisdom, Solomon has the First Temple built, the Ark is brought into the Temple and the Temple is dedicated. Visit from the Queen of Sheba, Solomon’s splendour, Solomon’s many wives and trouble starting. Solomon’s failure and death. The prophet Ahijah opposes Jeroboam who set up golden calfs at Bethel and Dan. A series of bad kings of Israel and Judah. The prophet Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elisha joins Elijah and opposes Ahab king of Samaria and his wife Jezebel. Ahab is killed in battle.
- King Solomon reigned from 970 to 931 BC.
- Elijah (900–849 BC) lived in the Northern Kingdom; Elisha (892-832 BC) also went to Samaria after visiting Mount Carmel.
- Genre: History of the King Solomon and then the divided kingdom.
- Elijah is taken up to heaven and Elisha becomes the chief prophet. The story of Elisha is told with the various miracles performed by him. There is a series of kings of Israel and kings of Judah whose rule causes idolatry to take hold of the land. Assyrian invasions of Israel and Judah occur during the 8th century BC. Hoshea is the last king of Israel, Samaria comes under siege and the Isrealites (the ten tribes) are deported to Assyria. Judah and Jerusalem are delivered from the Assyrians with the good king Hezekiah in Judah. Manasseh and then Josiah succeed as kings of Judah, the book of the Law was found in the Temple, and the covenant with God renewed. Despite King Josiah being a good king, the situation cannot be saved.
- Nebuchadnezzar’s campaign against Judah takes place in 605-586 BC. The King of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem, sets fire to the First Temple having plundered all the gold, silver and bronze from it. The Temple priests are taken prisoners, executed and the tribe of Judah goes into captivity.
- Genre: Story of the prophet Elisha and history of the loss of the Northern Kingdom, some good kings in Judah, but it ends with the fall of Jerusalem.