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Rebellion and Reformation:

A History of the Divided Monarchy

Editor's Overview
Principal Contributor
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INTRODUCTION   Kings and Chronicles

This quarter's Bible Study Guide covers Kings and Chronicles, at least partly. A lot of material (such as the entire book of 1 Chronicles itself) is left out. But when there is only one quarter to cover almost four hundred years of sacred history (from about 961 B.C. to 586 B.C.), much is left out. There is no other choice.

This lesson starts with, basically, the first verses of 1 Kings, which deals with the last days of King David; it ends, basically, with the last verses in the last chapter of 2 Kings, the final days of Judah's last king before the Babylonian exile (though the end of 2 Chronicles touches lightly on the restoration of Jerusalem under the Persians).  What is found between theses verses will be the object of our study for the next three months.

It is not always the most uplifting material. That is only because there is never anything uplifting about sin, compromise, rebellion, and apostasy—not then, not now. Nevertheless, plenty remains to be learned from the Bible, both from the good events and from the bad. In fact, though Paul was writing about an earlier period in Hebrew history, his point is still valid for our particular study: "Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come" (1 Cor. 10:11, RSV).

This quarter's Bible Study Guide moves between Chronicles and Kings, which often tell the same story, from different perspectives (though, in some cases, it is clear one writer borrowed from another).  The Chronicles tend to have a distinct spiritual focus, while the Kings center more on historical and political issues. All together, they paint a picture of this crucial time in Jewish and Israelite history.

No one knows for certain who wrote Kings or Chronicles. Originally, both were single volumes. Some ancient records reveal that Jeremiah probably supplied the information in 1 and 2 Kings (see The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 716: 2. "Authorship").  Chronicles is a type of daily record, known as a " 'book of events of the days.' "—The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 115:1. "Title."  Ezra probably supplied the information.

We begin in the days of one monarchy, under David and then Solomon; next, we watch the nation split, and, finally, we follow the respective paths of the two kingdoms. We go back and forth, from the southern kingdom to the northern, to the southern, to the northern, and so forth, ending with the Babylonian captivity of the south (the north vanishes more than a century earlier, swallowed by the Assyrians).

It is incredible history, not just for the drama but for the lessons that we, the spiritual heirs of these people, can learn from the history of those who are, indeed, our ancestors, in both spirit and in truth.

EDITOR'S OVERVIEW   The Bigger Picture

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah" (Isa. 1:1); "... which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel" (Amos 1:1). "The word of the Lord ... in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah" (Mic. 1:1).

Notice how each of these first verses begins a book in the Hebrew Bible: In the days of Uzziah, in the days of Hezekiah, in the days of Ahaz.  They begin with a political context. That is because the political context cannot be separated from the social one, and the social context cannot be separated from the spiritual context—and the writings of these prophets are nothing if not spiritual. Thus, in their own way, the opening verses of these books—by establishing the political background—help establish a spiritual background, as well, one that helps us understand the Sitz im Leben (life situation) in which the prophets wrote.  

Kings and Chronicles, our study for this quarter, does the same thing, only on a grander scale. These books present a framework upon which we can put the prophets in their particular historical and political contexts. Whereas, for example, Micah begins in "the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah," Kings and Chronicles establish the background and time line in which these kings ruled.  What about the kingship of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (much less Jeroboam, Jehoram, Athaliah, and Josiah)? Who reigned before them, who reigned after them, what was happening in the nations around them, and how did that impact Israel and Judah? Though some of these questions are answered by the prophets themselves, Kings and Chronicles move us back so we can view the situation from a larger, grander perspective, that of the entire flow of the history of Israel and Judah. In short, the books give us the bigger picture.

Imagine a war and suppose that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah write about this war from the battleground itself, as shells explode overhead and bullets whizz past their ears. In contrast. Kings and Chronicles read more like a historian's view, as though someone stepped back, possibly even, in some cases, after the events, and put together various accounts not just of individual battles but of the whole war. Thus, we are given radically different—but divine—perspectives: some "up close" (from the prophets), others "farther away" (from Chronicles and Kings).  Even better, sometimes Kings and Chronicles present the same material with different twists, as well (like the Gospels, perhaps).

Of course. Kings and Chronicles are not just history. They contain important spiritual lessons in and of themselves; many principles of truth, of faith, and of salvation can be gleaned from their pages, just as they can from the prophets. How much you derive from them, of course, depends on how willing you are—through study, prayer, and faith—to squeeze out what is there.

Don't worry; plenty remains to be squeezed out—and then some.

Contents:  (all lessons may not be posted)

No. Study


July 6 Rough Start  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 13 The Wisdom of Solomon  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 20 The Rise and the Fall of the House of Solomon  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 27 The Rending of God's Nation  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 3 The Rise of the House of Asa  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 10 Apostasy in the North  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 17 The Good and the Bad Days of King Jehoshaphat in Judah  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 24 Judah:  From Jehoram to Joash  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 31 The Rule of Hezekiah in Judah  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 7 Meanwhile . . . Back in the North  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 14 The Last Days of the Northern Kingdom  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 21 Manasseh and the Early Days of Josiah  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 28 The Curtain Falls on the Southern Kingdom  (KJV)  (NKJV)

Giardina Sabbath School Study Helps

Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.  The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word;  RTF for our MAC friends; and HTML (Web Pages).

Last updated on June 29, 2002

Editorial Office: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Principal Contributors: James W. Zachrison
Editor: Clifford Goldstein
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Production Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
Art and Design: Lars Justinen.
Pacific Press Coordinator: Paul A. Hey.

Copyright 2002 Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide,
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.

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