These books record the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah from
the accession of Solomon to the fall of Jerusalem, approximately 970-586
There are three main divisions:
(a) I Kgs.ii.12-xi: The history of the reign of Solomon,
[I Kgs.i-ii.11 belong to the preceding division, i.e. ii Sam.ix-xx.22; See above, p.87.] (b) I Kgs.-ii Kgs.xvii: The history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the fall of the northern kingdom, 933-721 BC. (c) ii Kgs.xviii-xxv: The history of the kingdom of Judah from the reign of Hezekiah to its fall, 721-586 BC.
(More strictly, to the release of Jehoiachin from his prison in Babylon, 562BC.)
Within these main divisions there are many subdivisions;
it will not be necessary to enumerate these in detail, for many of them will come into consideration later.
The oldest source was a document that contained the history of
the period immediately preceding the foundation of the monarchy;
it included also the history of a large part of Solomon's reign,
and was probably written towards the end of this reign.
It is characteristic of this source that the historical narratives that it contains are told in a pleasant, one might almost say, a chatty style.
It is a source of high value, for it reveals an intimate knowledge of David in his old age,
and of the court intrigues that led to Solomon's usurpation of the throne,
Adonijah being the legitimate heir.
The next source is mentioned by name in i Kgs.xi.41:
"Now the rest of the acts of Solomon,
and all that he did, and his wisdom,
are they not written in the book of the 'Acts of Solomon'?"
Here we have definite reference to a
work with its title, which was clearly well known.
It is important to note that the compiler of i Kings does not give an exhaustive transcript of this book, otherwise he would not refer to it for further information;
we have, thus, only extracts from it.
As to the date of this source, from the nature of the case it cannot have been written very long after the reign of Solomon, so that one may date it approximately as belonging to the earlier part of the ninth century.
The contents and nature of this source can be gathered from extracts in i Kings:
it is much more a biographical than an historical narrative.
It begins by telling of Solomon's marriage
with the daughter of the king of Egypt (iii.1),
then of the dream he had in Gibeon (iii.4-15).
In iii.16-28 we have the narrative of Solomon's judgement;
the parallels to this, which are found in other Oriental literatures, make it probable that Solomon's biographer culled it from some extraneous source and applied it to his hero.
Then in iv.1-19 there are lists,
Whether these lists were actually in
or were taken from some official record and added,
cannot be said with certainty;
but as they seem to be Solomon's personal officials it is likely that the lists figured in his biography.
We then come to three long sections:
Solomon's treaty with Hiram of Tyre,
and the preparations for the building of the Temple (v.1-18, Hebr.15-32);
the building of the Temple and of the royal palace (vi.1-vii.51),
the dedication of the Temple (viii.1-66).
These have been very greatly worked over by later hands;
but the kernel, it may be confidently asserted, was found in the "Acts of Solomon".
The remaining extracts tell of further dealings between Solomon and Hiram (ix.11-14);
the building of Millo (ix.23-25);
Solomon's wisdom and the visit of the Queen of Sheba (ix.26-x.29);
and possibly, though this is rather uncertain, the account of Solomon's two enemies, Hadad the Edomite and Rezon of Damascus (xi.14-25).
Wherever this last came from it certainly contains some reliable historical matter.
A final fragment may well be the words telling of how Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, who, however, managed to escape, and found an asylum with Shishak, king of Egypt, until the death of Solomon (xi.40)
These complete the extracts from the "Acts
and it will be seen that they are really biographical,
so that this source was not an historical one in the strict sense.
These two sources, which may be taken
together, are of the greatest importance.
They are both mentioned by name:
the "Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel",
and the "Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah".
They are referred to for the first time in i Kgs.xiv.19 and 29, respectively,
where Jeroboam and Rehoboam are spoken of.
From this it is evident, that these two sources begin their history after the division of the kingdom;
this is what might be expected, inasmuch as the "Acts of Solomon" brings the history down to the end of the reign of Solomon.
The sources in question are mentioned in connexion with nearly all the kings of Israel and Judah, and since they are referred to for further details about these kings it is clear that they were utilized only in part.
That these sources were drawn upon for some of the passages in i ii Chron. which have no parallel in i ii Kgs. is certain though to what extent this was the case cannot be determined. (See below, p.113.)
Regarding the nature and contents of
these two sources,
it is to be noted that since we have only extracts from them
we can only surmise what they actually consisted of.
But one thing is clearly indicated by the nature of many of the extracts,
viz. that the sources cannot have been official documents.
They did not contain the official annals of the two kingdoms respectively,
for they are too human and unconventional for that.
A good illustration of this
is the account, in i Kgs..2-20,
of Rehoboam's dealings with Jeroboam and his following who came to ask for a remission of imposts.
There we get a graphic and interesting narrative as far removed as anything could be from what an official document would contain, and written in a style quite unthinkable in such a document.
Since, then, these two sources were not official documents, private individuals must have compiled them.
This is not to say that public records were not made use of.
They certainly were.
It would be an obvious course for any historian writing the history of his country.
So that when wars are described, or political events, or public acts by the king, or accounts of public buildings, such as fortifications, royal palaces, etc., in all such cases it is more than likely that official documents were utilized.
But the putting together of the material thus gathered was, in the case of the two sources under consideration, the work of private individuals.
In general, it is not difficult to indicate the various extracts from these two sources occurring in 1 ii Kgs., and for the most part scholars are agreed here.
They are as follows;
to which of the two sources each passage belongs is, in almost every case, so obvious that it will not be necessary to indicate this:
I Kings xii.2-20; xiv.25-28, 30; xv.16-28; xvi.9, 10, 15-22, 34; x.44 (Heb.45), 47-50; II Kings i.1; viii.20-22; x.32, 33; xl.1-20; xii.1-16, 17-19; xiii.7, 22-24; xiv.5, 7, 8-14, 22; xv.5, 10, 14, 16, 19, 20, 25, 29, 30, 37; xvi.5-18; xvii.3-6, 24-28; xviii.3, 4, 8, 14-16; xxi.23, 24; xi.29, 30, 33-35; xxiv.1, 2, 7.
[It is worth noting how full ch.xv is of isolated records;
they are much in the form in which entries would have been made in official records;
evidently all these notes were taken from such.]
These forty extracts show from their contents their place of origin.
And the two types of form in which they occur,
viz. sometimes very brief entries,
at others elaborated narratives,
they show that, on the one hand, official records have been utilized,
and, on the other, that the writers gave their own account of events of which they were cognizant.
These two sources in their completed form are of different dates.
With regard to the "Book
of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel":
Since the compiler of i ii Kgs. makes no reference to the original work in the case of Hoshea -
the only reign which is not mentioned in the source -
it seems evident that this was completed before his reign,
and that a few additions were subsequently made by some other writer.
This would give the date of the source as near the end of the eighth century.
of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah" is
carried down to the eve of the Exile,
and will therefore have been completed towards the end of the seventh century;
and here again it is likely enough that a few records were added later.
Let it be repeated that while the nature and contents of the passages given above justify the conclusion that, in general, they belong to one or other of the two sources mentioned, there are doubtless some cases in regard to which it would be unwise to dogmatize.
Our next source,
which is not, however, reckoned as a special one by most commentators,
may provisionally be called the "Acts of Ahab".
This king is also dealt with in two other sources to which reference will be made later.
The reason why all of these are not treated as one source will be explained as we proceed;
here it may merely be mentioned
that the provisionally named source, "Acts of Ahab",
is sufficiently distinctive to permit of its being treated as a separate source.
As the provisional title implies,
this document is concerned with king Ahab;
but not, as in the "Acts of Solomon", with the king personally.
[Of course there is no such title in reality, it is only adopted here for convenience' sake.]
It deals with the special episodes of Ahab's battles against the Aramaeans;
so that while Ahab forms the central figure in it, the source is not a biographical, but an historical one.
The extracts from it in i Kgs. will be found in chaps. xx and x.1-40, though these have been considerably worked over by later hands for specific purposes.
There are not many instances in the historical books of the Old Testament of so much space being devoted to the history or doings of one king;
where this is the case - David, Solomon, and Hezekiah -
there is either proof or high probability that special memoirs concerning them existed.
And since Ahab has a, comparatively speaking, large amount of space devoted to his reign,
and since also he appears prominently in another source (the "Elijah narratives"),
and was clearly, therefore, one of the more important of the Israelite kings,
the supposition that a special document containing his memoirs existed does not seem unreasonable.
There is a further reason, which may be regarded as supporting this supposition.
The Syrian power was at this time the most formidable of Israel's foes;
Assyria had, as yet, not come within the purview of practical politics so far as Israel was concerned.
In the reign of Omri the land had suffered seriously from Syrian inroads (i Kgs.xx.34);
Ahab, on the other hand, was successful in averting this Syrian menace (i Kgs.xx.29, 30).
Further, his Phoenician alliance must have been of great service to his country politically and commercially;
and his alliance with Judah was all to the good.
The defamation of which he has been the victim owing to the animus of those who lived in later times and judged him from their religious point of view, must not blind us to the fact that Ahab was one of the greatest of Israel's kings.
To the people of his own day he was a far-seeing, beneficent ruler, who did a great deal in strengthening the position of his country and furthering the general well being.
These things being so, it is highly probable that memoirs of him existed, quite apart from other official records.
An " Acts of Ahab " source may, therefore, be postulated, giving it a title which, it is granted, is not used in the Old Testament.
Ahab died, approximately, in the year 853 BC,
and as the, in the main, reliable details about his Syrian wars cannot have been written very long after his death,
we may regard this source as belonging to the later part of the ninth century.
The next source,
from which long, portions have been taken,
was a collection of "Elijah narratives".
They are comprised in i Kgs.xvii, xviii, xix.1-18, xxi, ii kgs.i,
and, like all the sources utilized,
they have been worked over by subsequent scribes in the interests of later points of view.
The longest of these extracts (xviii) deals with the well-known religious contest on mount Carmel, the introduction to it being contained in xvii (verses 17-24 - the raising of the widow's son, is a digression).
While we have in this story some elements of the wonder-tale, there can be no doubt that the main narrative contains a substantial kernel of historical truth.
The next narrative, quite self-contained, tells of the divine manifestation to Elijah on mount Horeb (xix.1-18).
And here again there is an undoubted historical nucleus, but overlaid by some imaginative detail.
The extract in xxi, which deals with the judicial murder of Naboth, bears on the face of it the marks of historical truth;
but as in the rest of these narratives, later hands have been at work upon it for their own purposes.
The last extract (ii Kgs.i) seems to be not much more than a fragment with a considerable added piece (verses 9-17).
[Although we are treating the Elijah and Elisha (see below) narratives as separate sources,
the possibility is recognized of there having been but one source
in which narratives concerning a number of prophecies were collected;
there are references to several others in i ii Kings.]
Now in the first and last of these narratives
(excluding the fragment just mentioned) Ahab plays a part.
It may therefore well be asked what the reason is for the contention, not held by most commentators, that the source, which we have called the "Acts of Ahab", is not part of the "Elijah narratives".
Apart from the reason already given regarding the personality of Ahab and the important role he played in the further consideration of his country, there are these two further considerations:
The wholly different nature of
the two sources, respectively;
the Ahab source is purely historical,
the Elijah narratives are mainly personal, while they have a large admixture of legendary matter.
Two bodies of such fundamentally different material are not likely to have been comprised in one and the same source.
The point of view regarding the attitude towards
Syria is quite different in the two sources.
In the Elijah narratives Syria is represented as Yahweh's avenger on His recreant people,
so that the point of view is one favourable to Syria.
But in the Ahab source it is precisely the contrary;
the whole attitude is vehemently anti-Syrian.
Two such opposed points of view are, again, 'not to be looked for in one and the same source.
The probability seems thus to point to an Ahab source distinct from the Elijah narratives in spite of the fact that in two of these latter Ahab plays a not unimportant part.
The seventh source is of a similar nature to that just considered; it may be termed the "Elisha narratives".
These occupy a considerable portion
of ii Kings; they consist largely of a number of popular wonder tales,
and are not of the historical value of much that occurs in the Elijah narratives.
The naivete of the stories marks them as ancient;
and in many particulars they have preserved Hebrew customs and belief as these existed in the ninth century BC;
from that point of view this source is distinctly valuable.
In addition, though not much is to be gained from it that throws light on the history of the times,
here and there some fragments of tradition appear which may well reflect actual fact.
It is possible that the Elijah - and
the Elisha - narratives come from a single source, as many commentators
but two facts militate against this:
the Elijah narratives, both in
conception and form, stand on a distinctly higher level than the Elisha
as compared with the former the latter are almost puerile.
The Elijah narratives sometimes rise to a grandeur, which is never even remotely touched in the Elisha narratives.
And this is not due only to the vastly nobler figure of Elijah.
It is certainly in part, at any rate, owing to the finer literary ability of the writer of the Elijah narratives.
The compiler of Kings may have found the two sets of narratives in one collection, but it is difficult to believe that originally they belonged to the same source.
The other reason is the disorder of the Elisha
one has only to read them a little carefully to see that they are chronologically out of place.
But this is not the case with the Elijah narratives.
That is, of course, not a conclusive argument;
but this fact is more easily accounted for on the assumption that they belong to different sources.
The extracts from this source
are as follows:
first we have a brief notice of what may be designated the call of Elisha (i Kgs.xix.19-21);
this is quite fragmentary and entirely separated from the main body of the narratives.
Then in ii.Kgs.ii occur several episodes which look as though they had originally been separate entries in the book of Elisha narratives, and which have more or less been welded together by the compiler of Kings.
Thus, ii.1-6 tells of the journey of Elijah and Elisha from Gilgal, via Bethel and Jericho to the Jordan.
ii.7-15 describes Elijah's ascent in the chariot of fire.
ii.16-18 tells of the fruitless search for Elijah's body by fifty of Elisha's followers.
ii.19-22 is an account of the miracle of healing the waters.
And ii. 23-25 contains the story of the mocking children.
These give the impression of having once been short independent narratives.
The next narrative is longer (ii Kgs.iii),
and it is an open question whether it really belongs to the Elisha narratives or not.
It tells of the battle of the allied kings of Israel, Judah and Edom against the Moabites.
The Israelite king,
though not referred to by name,
is probably Ahab (see i.Kgs.x.20,39), the contemporary of Jehoshaphat who is mentioned.
It may be, therefore, that this chapter is an extract from the " Acts of Ahab ";
on the other hand, Elisha plays an important part in the narrative, which inclines one to the belief that it belonged to the Elisha narrative source.
In any case we have the echo here of some actual historical episode.
A very long series of Elisha narratives,
with additions by a later hand, follows in chs.iv-vii;
we need not go into the details of these, they are almost wholly concerned with miracles performed by Elisha.
As some of them are strikingly similar to wonders ascribed to Elijah, the possibility of a mixing-up of sources here must be reckoned with.
More important are the extracts dealing
with Elisha's anointing of Hazael (viii.7-15), and the long account of
Jehu's rebellion and usurpation of the throne, prompted by Elisha (ix.x);
in these a considerable element of actual history is to be discerned.
The last two extracts from the Elisha narratives are contained in ii Kgs.i.14-21;
one tells of king Joash's interview with the prophet (verses 14-19), and the other recounts the death of Elisha;
it gives us other miracle of how a dead man came to life again by being brought into contact with the prophet's corpse.
Taken as a whole, these narratives, while reflecting history in only a minor degree, are very valuable for their extraordinary human interest, quite apart from anything else.
The last source is the "Isaiah
in ii Kgs.xviii.13-(excluding verses 14-16)-xx.19;
this occurs also almost word for word in Isa.xxxvi-xxxix.
That Isaiah did not write them himself is evident from the fact that he is always spoken of in the third person.
There was certainly a collection of narratives extant describing events in the life of Isaiah;
that is clear from several things that are said in chs.vii and x of his book;
in all likelihood this was the source utilized by the compiler of Kings.
It may be regarded as belonging approximately to the end of the seventh century.
There are thus eight sources which were
utilized in compiling i ii Kings.
But there are large portions in these books that cannot have come from any of these sources.
To these attention must next be directed.
A striking characteristic of Kings is the way in which the events of the reigns of each of the kings of Israel and Judah are fitted into a stereotyped framework of opening and concluding formulas.
Thus, e.g., in i Kgs.xv.9,10 we read:
"And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Asa to reign over Judah.
And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem;"
and in i Kgs.xv.33:
"In the third year of Asa king of Judah
began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah,
(and he reigned) twenty and four years."
That is the introductory formula;
there is likewise a stereotyped concluding formula for the end of each reign;
for the southern kingdom, e.g., i Kgs.xv.7, 8:
"And the rest of the acts of Abijam,
and all that he did,
are they not written...?
And Abijam slept with his fathers ...
"And Asa his son reigned in his stead;"
and for the Northern Kingdom, e.g., i Kgs.xv.31:
"Now the rest of the acts of Nadab,
and all that he did,
are they not written ... "
The exact words of these formulas often
vary in detail, but in general they are the same.
A further, point in them is that they contain an estimate of each king;
and this estimate is couched in one of three forms:
it is either a condemnation pure and simple,
or it is an approval modified by some words of disapprobation,
or it is whole-hearted approval.
The first is expressed in the words:
"And he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh"
with some specifying detail.
The second runs more or less in the form:
"And he did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh
howbeit, the high places were not taken away,
the people sacrificed, and burned incense in the high places."
And the third, which is, however, very rare, is expressed by the words:
"And he did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh,"
followed by the details of the king's
right action (ii Kgs.xviii.3ff, x.2).
These formulas also differ,
sometimes there are considerable variations,
but the essential meaning is always the same.
Regarding these three latter types of
it is found that, with a few exceptions to be considered presently,
when a king is said to have done that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, without any modifying addition,
it is a ruler of the Northern Kingdom.
When a ruler of the southern kingdom
is referred to he is dealt with in this way:
if he has done evil, there is some extenuating circumstance added;
if he has done right, a "nevertheless" is added.
The third formula, in reference to a ruler who has done right absolutely,
is reserved for two kings of the southern kingdom, Hezekiah and Josiah.
As to the exceptions;
Out of the nineteen northern kings there are two:
In the case of Shallum nothing is said, for the simple reason that he only reigned a month (ii Kgs.xv.13).
In the case of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, for some reason which is not known to us,
it is said of him that though he did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh,
yet it was "not as the kings of Israel that were before him" (ii Kgs.xvii.2).
Otherwise every ruler of the Northern Kingdom is evil, pure and simple.
[On the other hand, judgement is passed on Zimri though he reigned for only one week (i Kgs. xvi.15-20.]
Regarding the southern kingdom there
are several exceptions;
they are these:
he is spoken of as having done evil,
but the blame seems to be attached to Judah as a whole rather than to the king specifically (i Kgs.xiv.22).
On the other hand, judgement is passed on Zimri though he reigned for only one week (i Kgs.xvi.15-20).
Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah are all evil,
but the fact that they were related to Ahab, the very bad king of Israel (according to later ideas),
is mentioned as an extenuating circumstance (ii Kgs.viii.18, 27).
In regard to Ahaz, although he is spoken of as having been as bad as any of the kings of Israel.
Yet the stereotyped formula, "he did evil in the sight of Yahweh", is toned down,
and it is said that "he did not that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh" (ii Kgs.xvi.2).
This applies also to Abijah (i Kgs.xv.3).
Two other exceptions are Manasseh and
his son Amon,
who for the obvious reasons, which are given, are unmitigatedly evil.
And finally, for a reason that we shall come to presently,
the last four kings of Judah,
Jehoahaz (but he only reigned for three months),
are all spoken of as evil, pure and simple.
There is a further point to be considered
regarding the rest of the Judaean kings.
They are all (apart from the exceptions just mentioned) said to have done what is right in the sight of Yahweh.
But there is a significant qualifying remark which is added;
and that is to this effect:
"Howbeit the high places were not taken away,
the people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places".
[I Kgs.xv.11 f; x.43; ii Kgs.vii.18, 27; .2, 3; xiv.3, 4; xv.3, 4, 34 f.]
It is significant that in regard to every single king of Judah,
mention is made, either explicitly or by implication, of the high places (bamoth).
Even in the case of Hezekiah and Josiah, who both did what was right in the sight of Yahweh,
it is thought necessary to emphasize this by adding that they did away with the high places.
With regard to the kings of Israel, on the other hand,
the evil of which they are all guilty centres primarily in the fact that they favoured the high places.
Of Jeroboam 1, who appears as the evil genius of practically all his successors,
it is said that he made from among all the people priests of the high places (i Kgs.i.33).
His son Nadab walked in the way of his father;
after that it is said of each of the kings (Shallum and Hoshea alone excepted)
that he walked in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat,
or "he walked in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat".
This is likewise a stereotyped phrase, and implies worship on the high places.
There can be no doubt that the formulas and stereotyped phrases referred
to are to be assigned to a Deuteronomic redactor.
This is particularly evident in the cases of the mention of the high places.
For apart from passages that are demonstrably of Deuteronomic inspiration, there is never a word of condemnation of the high places.
Neither Elijah, nor Elisha, nor any other prophet of this age has a word to say against them (on the contrary, see e.g. i Kgs.iii.4, xviii.23);
but in the Deuteronomic legislation it is very different, one illustration, of many, may be cited:
"Ye shall surely destroy all the places,
wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods,
upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree ... "
The destruction of the high places and the centralization of worship in Jerusalem were among the outstanding features of the Deuteronomic legislation.
The introductory and concluding formulas spoken of above are also the work of the Deuteronomic redactor, though the chronological and other details that they contain were doubtless derived from material to which he had access.
But these series of passages by no means exhaust the Deuteronomic elements in Kings.
The style of the book of Deuteronomy is very characteristic and easily distinguishable;
and its religious point of view is always recognizable.
So that when in the book of Kings both the literary style and the religious ideas of Deuteronomy appear, there can be no doubt about the origin of passages in which they occur.
Many illustrations could be given, it must suffice to indicate the most striking:
i Kgs.ii.1-4; viii.22-66 (omitting 41-51); xi.9-13, 29-38; .26-31; xiv.1-24; xv.1-15; ii Kgs.xvii.2I-23; x; xi.1-15, 21-28.
There are a certain number of passages that are not in the Deuteronomic
Nor do they contain indications of belonging to any of the sources mentioned.
As a rule, the reasons for regarding these as later additions are fairly obvious.
One illustration may be given:
in ii Kgs.xiv.5, 6 an extract from the Judean source records how Amaziah put to death all those who had been concerned in the murder of his father Joash (see ii Kgs. . 20, 2 1).
Nevertheless, that the children of the murderers were spared.
But to this there is added:
"according to all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,
as Yahweh commanded, saying,
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children,
nor the children be put to death for the fathers;
but every man shall die for his own sin."
This extract is a verbatim quotation from Deut.xxiv.16;
but the Deuteronomic redactor does not add it because he never does quote from Deuteronomy.
He impresses his point of view in his well-known style, but does not give quotations.
A quotation of this kind is the mark of later usage.
Various other illustrations could be given (see, e.g. ii Kgs.i.23).
Other redactional elements are:
i Kgs.iv.20-v.6; viii.41-51; ix.1-9; xx.35-43; ii Kgs.i.9-16; xvii.7-20, 29-40; xxi.7-15; xi.16-20, 26, 27.
Although the Septuagint is in many places, very corrupt it is quite indispensable
for the study of Kings.
Again and again corrupt passages in the Hebrew text can be corrected by referring to the Septuagint;
and what is of special interest is that it is quite evident that in many cases the Hebrew text underlying the Septuagint was a purer one than that represented by the Massoretic text.
This is not to say that the Massoretic text is not often demonstrably superior to that of the Septuagint;
that is quite obviously the case in many instances;
but, none the less, the Septuagint cannot be dispensed with.
In a very large number of cases, the cumulative effect of which is imposing,
there are small variations in the Septuagint which indicate a manifestly
better type of Hebrew text than that which we now possess;
one or two illustrations may be given:
In i Kgs.xi.3 the Hebrew has:
"And he (Solomon) had seven hundred wives...;
and his wives turned away his heart".
The Septuagint omits the last sentence;
it is not wanted, as it occurs in the next verse.
In i Kgs.ii.19 it is said in the Hebrew, in reference to Solomon:
"and he set a throne for the king's mother".
For an Oriental king to do a thing like this is extremely improbable.
The Septuagint reads:
"and there was set a throne...",
implying that this was done by the king's servants.
In ii Kgs.vi.11 the Hebrew has a clumsy and improbable form in the sentence:
"will ye not tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?"
In place of this the Septuagint reads:
"will ye not tell me who (it is that) is slandering (i.e. betraying) us to the king of Israel?"
In ii Kgs.x.15 the Hebrew has:
" ... and Jehonadab answered, It is.
If it be, give me thy hand".
In place of "If it be", which is meaningless,
the Septuagint reads:
"And Jehu said, Give ..."
These are just a few of a large number of instances in which the Septuagint
witnesses to a Hebrew text superior to the Massoretic;
individually they may not, as a rule, be important, but their number is significant.
Apart from these, however, there are many passages in the Septuagint that do not occur in the Massoretic text at all.
Several of these interpolations are not of much value, but others are important.
So, e.g., the longest of them, which comes after i Kgs..24;
here there are recorded the events connected with the death of Solomon together with a summary of the reign of Rehoboam.
Then there is an account of the revolt of Jeroboam, with a repetition of what has already been told in chs.xi, , and anticipating ch.xiv.
But, as Swete says,
"the passage is no mere cento of verses to be found elsewhere either in the Septuagint or in the Massoretic text.
It is a second and distinct recension of the story,
resting equally with the first on a Hebrew original.
So different, and indeed in some respects contradictory, are the accounts
that they cannot possibly have stood from the first in the same volume...
The present Greek version of i Kings
has preserved two ancient accounts of the dismemberment of the kingdom of David and Solomon,
and though one of these survives also in the Massoretic text,
there is no a priori ground for deciding which of the two is the more trustworthy."
[Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, p.248 (1900).]
Valuable from another point of view is a notice preserved in Lucian's recension of the Septuagint in ii Kgs.i.22:
"And Hazael took the Philistine out of his land from the Western Sea unto Aphek".
This, as Wellhausen has pointed out, shows where the true position of Aphek
on the northern border of the Philistines,
and throws light on the Philistine and Syrian invasion of central Palestine,
for which Aphek served as a base.
Samaria was thus not attacked from the north by the Syrians,
but from the west,
i.e. it would have been a flank, not a frontal, attack;
from the Philistine land there was, by way of Megiddo, a good road into the heart of Israel's land.
[Composition des Hexateuchs, p.254; Lucian's recension was published by Lagarde (Gottingen, 1883).]
From these two illustrations, of many, it will be realized how indispensable
the Septuagint is for the study of i ii Kings.
[For valuable help see Rahlfs, Septuaginta-Studien, 1. Heft: "Studien zu den Koningsbuchern" (1904); 3. Heft: "Lucians Recension der Konigsbucher" (1911).]