“And they lived [peacefully] three years; there were no wars between Aram and Israel (Kings I 22:1).” Things seem ok for a time, but of course, that never lasts. In this third year, Jehoshaphat, who is now the king of Judah, comes to see the king of Israel. The two kings decide to join forces against the king of Aram in order to reclaim Ramot Gilead. Finally, after so many generations, the two halves of the Israelite people are working together once again. They want a blessing on their mission though, so they decide to summon a prophet to confirm that they’re moving in the right direction. “And the king of Israel summoned one eunuch, and said, ‘Bring Micaiah the son of Imlah at once (Kings I 22:9).'”
The two kings each have a throne, and they sit in all of their glory with the prophets before them. This reconciliation all seems pretty sudden, but it’s nice to see collaboration happening amongst the people, even if it is going to be at Aram’s expense. All of the prophets speak favorably about the mission, including Micaiah.
The battle is bloody, but the Israelites prevail. “Ahab lay with his forefathers, and Achaziah his son reigned in his place (Kings I 22:40).” Jehoshaphat’s reign is also shared. He’s Asa’s son, and is king for twenty-five years. He always does good in God’s eyes. “However, the high places he did not remove. The people were still sacrificing and offering in the high places (Kings I 22:44).” He seems like a moderate king. He himself is loyal to God, but he doesn’t fully impose his own practices on the people. He does, however, make peace with Israel, and is thought of positively. Eventually he dies, and his so Jehoram takes the throne. The chapter, and the book, end with us learning that Ahab’s son does evil in God’s eyes. “He worshipped the Baal, he bowed to him and he provoked the Lord, God of Israel to anger, like all that his father had done (Kings I 22:54).”
On this final, ominous, and somewhat anticlimactic note, the first book of Kings ends. It’s not fully clear to me why this book is two books, but another one is complete! This book definitely wasn’t a favorite of mine. The ongoing battle scenes are confusing, and the constantly changing cast of kings is hard to keep up with. This, coupled with the lack of meaningful lessons or stories, made this portion of Tanakh less than compelling for me. But I’m eager to press forward. 620 chapters to go!