These embrace a period of the history of Israel from B.C. 1015 to B.C. 562. They do not give the commencement of the kingdom under Saul, nor the history of David, but begin with the reign of Solomon. In the headings of these books the A.V. adds "Commonly called the 'Third Book' and 'Fourth Book' of the Kings" (copied probably from the LXX or the Vulgate, for this addition is not in the Hebrew), the two books of Samuel being the First and Second. The kingdom was at its height in the reign of Solomon, but because of his sin the kingdom was divided, and after many warnings from God through His prophets, to both Israel and Judah, both kingdoms were brought to a close, the people being carried away into captivity, and Jerusalem and the temple destroyed. See ISRAEL, JUDAH, and the various Kings The books of the Kings differ from the books of the Chronicles in that the former treat of kingly power established by God in the nation of Israel; (and, though it failed and apostatised, the will of God in its establishment will be carried out when Christ administers the government of God in power:) whereas the Chronicles are principally occupied with the house of David, and God's promises concerning it.
The chronology of the period of the kings can be fairly well ascertained if it is remembered that parts of years were always reckoned as full years. In most cases, when a king began to reign, it is stated what year it was of the king reigning in the other kingdom, and these cross references help to check both lists. The dates are approximately as follows. The names of the contemporary PROPHETS are also added.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE KINGS.