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1 Kings by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:52 mins 58 secs

Promises to David: FRD


When the writer of Kings writes this history there are different purposes that he has in mind. One purpose is to complete the narrative that was begun in 1 Samuel: the story of the united kingdom, the story of the development of the monarchy. He is also going to show how the promise, the desire of David to build a temple for God, is finally realised in his son Solomon. The second reason he is writing has to do with a theological-spiritual life purpose. He wants to show the patterns of sin and divine discipline and juxtapose those with the patterns of obedience and grace in the history of Israel to deter later generations from disobedience to God. We see these patterns work themselves out mostly in Solomon and the subsequent kings, especially Israel, for disobedience. In the southern kingdom there is some obedience among the kings but it is not consistent. Third, he wants to explain the outworkings of the Mosaic covenant, showing God's faithfulness to His covenant and how the promises of God in Deuteronomy 28-30 and Leviticus 26 are worked out historically, that even though God is disciplining the nation—He promised that that is what He would do—He is fulfilling His promise, He is faithful to His covenant. And if he has been faithful in His discipline and judgment He will also be faithful in His grace and blessing in restoring the people to the nation. Remember, Kings was written and finalised during the time of the Babylonian captivity when both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom are out of the land and they are in the diaspora. The fourth purpose is to show that there is the continuous failure of the bad kings and even among the good kings there is marked failure, showing that none of these kings fit the pattern of the ideal perfect king that is promised and prophesied in the Davidic covenant. Of course, only the Messiah will fulfil that. So there is a messianic theme in his analysis of history.


1 Kings 1-11 deals with the reign of Solomon. The first chapter and a half focuses on the transfer of the kingdom from David to Solomon. So we could call the first division, the first eleven chapters, God provides for the transition of the kingship from David to Solomon in fulfilment of the Davidic covenant. That is what these first eleven chapters focus on. In the narrative of the Old Testament God is the hero, the one ultimately acting behind the scenes and bringing things out the way they are. So it is not just a matter of the fact that there is a transition of kingship but that we see God at work. Even though God is not mentioned in this chapter and a half we can't read the chapter and a half without thinking about the Davidic covenant that lies behind everything that is going on there, and we see how God works through people and through circumstances to bring about His will despite human opposition. So in the first eleven chapters we see God providing for the transition from David to Solomon in fulfilment of the Davidic covenant. The first part of that is God providing for the transfer of the kingdom from David to Solomon, fr0om 1:1 to 2:12. This is a dramatic section of Scripture and we should read it and think of it as a play or a drama and move from one scene to another, and it happens over a very short period of time.


In the first four verses we get into the situation where David is older, he is a bit senile, not on top of his game, and down to the end of the chapter we don't see David as the subject of an active voice verb. He is very passive, he is old, he is not engaged, he has lost his health, his body can't generate enough warmth, so in the first four verses we have the provision of Abishag to provide warmth to the king. In the midst of that we discover that there is a coup, and by the fifth verse we are introduced to that coup from Adonijah who seeks to secure the throne for himself, and how Nathan and Bathsheba then come in to make the king aware. All of a sudden we see David wake up, the matter catches his attention, and we see the spark of his old leadership ability and focus as he immediately realises what is happening. When Nathan and Bathsheba come into the throne room to make David aware of what Adonijah is doing, at that moment Adonijah has half the city of Jerusalem out as he is being crowned king, and so David knows that they have to move rapidly. All these events from verse 5 down to the end of the chapter take place within a very short period of time. It is a fast pace situation with a tremendous amount of tension going on as Adonijah seeks to grab power and seize the thrown, seize the succession, from Solomon who is the divinely ordained successor to David.


One of the things we need to keep pointing out as we get into this section is the major doctrines that need to be brought out. There are three central doctrines that form a backdrop to the first chapter and a half. The first has to do with the promise of God. The promise of God here is anchored in the Davidic covenant, so we have to understand the Davidic covenant and the promise God made to David in that context so that we can understand that when David realises what is happening and he begins to give orders as to the anointing of Solomon as king he is doing that in response and in reliance upon the promise of God—otherwise known as the faith-rest drill. He knows what God has promised and he is relying upon that and so he takes the appropriate action.


The second things we see, a very important doctrine, is the guidance of God behind the scenes. God is behind the scenes in order to stop this coup by Adonijah. How Nathan found out about the attempted coup, how he comes to Bathsheba and how they approach the king, show how God is working behind the scenes. God works through circumstances and behind the scenes though His name isn't mentioned as directly engaged in any of these events. David is simply reminded of what is going on and David then applies the Word to the situation.


The third thing is the faithfulness of God. It is very important that we will see again and again throughout the book of Kings that God is faithful to His covenant promises in the Mosaic covenant, both to bless and to curse, to provide gracious blessing and to provide judgment.


Deuteronomy is Moses' parting message, his last sermon, his farewell address to the Israelites on the plains of Moab as they are about to cross over the Jordan under the generalship of Joshua into the land the God has promised them. As part of his final address to them he reminds them of the stipulations of the Mosaic law, and he rehearses and summarises the Mosaic law in Deuteronomy. When he comes to the end he reminds them that the Mosaic covenant is a conditional covenant that includes both promises of blessings and promises of coursings, promises of grace and promises of judgments dependent upon what they do.  


Deuteronomy 28:1 NASB "Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth." When we read that it is a reminder of Isaiah chapter two which is a Millennial kingdom passage where God promise Israel that in the future when the kingdom comes all the nations will come to them and all will worship at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. So thus ultimately isn't going to be fulfilled until the Millennial kingdom. But the reason it wasn't fulfilled in the Old Testament is because they failed to be obedient to the commandments. One of the key words here is "diligently obey." It is the same kind of construction in the Hebrew that we have in Genesis 2:17 when God said: "in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." It is certainly, definitely going to happen. So in this sense Deuteronomy 28 says that if you are diligently obey, are consistently obedient to the voice of the Lord your God—that which is written in the revelation of God in the Mosaic law—God will bless you.


Deuteronomy 28:2 NASB "All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God."


  1. The condition for Mosaic covenant blessing was diligent obedience. They needed to be careful to obey all of the law. This has to do with civil law as well as religious law.
  2. The result of that would be that all these blessings would come to them. God would prosper them.
  3. The blessings are enumerated between verse 3 and verse 9. If they are obedient to the Lord the blessings are inclusive and affect everyone in the nation.
  4. The purpose for this is stated in verse 10 NASB "So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you." It is a visible testimony. In the Old Testament the Jews weren't the people of God that were to be sent to all the nations, they were to live in a test case environment where, if they were obedient to God, God would bless them far beyond any other people in the world and people who came there would be in awe of their prosperity, their freedom and liberty, which they would have by obeying the Word, and they would take it back to their own nations and say: You won't believe what God is doing for the Jews, there is no God like that God.
  5. The blessings are to be a visible evidence to all the nations. This is their testimony to the world of God's grace.
  6. There will be an abundance of fertility and offspring, produce, lifestyle, verse 12.
  7. There will be an abundance of rain and sun, verse 12. They are going to be so wealthy they won't have any need to borrow, to have foreign aid; they will be the ones who will be lending to others. NASB "The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow."
  8.  Verse 13 tells us that the blessing is measured in terms of prosperity and fertility.




1.  Discipline is, verse 15 NASB "But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you." The next verse from 16 down through 28 all outlines these curses. They mirror the same blessings of verse 3 down through 13.

2.  The curses are the opposite of the blessings in verses 16-20 and then are expanded after that in vv. 21ff. Deuteronomy 28:21 NASB "The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it."

3.  The curse involved a loss of productivity, a loss of fertility, an increase of disease, increase of financial troubles, and military defeat. Deuteronomy 28:25 NASB "The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be {an example of} terror to all the kingdoms of the earth."

4.  The military defeat would result in oppression and removal from the land. This is what we see as the fifth cycle of discipline in Leviticus 26.

5.  The spiritual purpose for this is stated in vv. 28, 45-48. If they don't obey all of these curses will overtake them. Verse 46: "They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever."

6.  They are told that a foreign enemy will come whose language they will not understand, v. 49: "The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand." This is the background for the tongues passage when Isaiah talks about the fact that they would hear a people speak in languages they didn't know. It would be a sign of conquest; they were being disciplined. The same passage is being picked up by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 to state the purpose for the gift of tongues. It wasn't to evangelise. The fact that they heard the Word of God taught in languages other than Hebrew was a sign that God was about to judge them and take them out of the land. 

7.  The result is that they would be left few in number. Deuteronomy 28:62 NASB "Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God. [64] Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. [65] Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul." All of that is ultimately fulfilled in the greater diaspora that comes after AD 70.

8.  The details of how the land will be abused are then described in chapter 29.

9.  When we come to chapter 30 it describes the restoration of Israel from all the peoples. Deuteronomy 30:1-6 NASB "So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call {them} to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live" – the establishment of the new covenant, Jeremiah 31.


To understand that is to understand why things happen the way they do in I & II Kings.


The next thing we have to be aware of in terms of background is the Davidic covenant. This is outlined by God in 2 Samuel 7:12-15. One word of caution. When reading through 2 Samuel and we read in chapter six where David moves the ark back to Jerusalem and there is this episode as they are transporting the ark and Uzzah puts forth his hand to stabilise God, as it were, he is struck dead because he touches the ark. The imagery there is that God doesn't need any help from man to keep His balance. After that event David is a little put off and concerned but then the ark blesses the house of the Gittite, so David comes back and moves the ark to Jerusalem because of his desire to build a temple, a permanent house for God. 2 Samuel chapter seven which follows logically and theologically is the recording of God's covenant where He tells David that He appreciates the fact that he wants to build Him a house, but what God is going to do is build or establish a house (dynasty) for David. David wanted to build a physical house for God; God is going to build a spiritual house, an eternal dynasty, for David, and He gives him the Davidic covenant. While this occurs early in 2 Samuel (chapter seven) it is probable that it doesn't actually happen until about seven years before David actually dies, based on a number of passages. For example, in 1 Chronicles 15:1 NASB "Now {David} built houses for himself in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it." But we know that David didn't build his palace and he didn't start doing this until toward the end of his reign. Also we know that the covenant is given to him after God has defeated all his enemies. The writer of Samuel isn't writing from a chronological viewpoint but from a logical or theological viewpoint. He places the giving of the Davidic covenant earlier than these other things but actually it was given after David had committed his worst sins, which speaks an even greater amount of the grace related to that. We also know that when David was preparing for the construction of the temple he had already entered into a trade agreement with Hiram, the king of Tyre. Hiram reigned in Tyre only during the last nine years of David's reign.


It is the giving of the Davidic covenant where God secures the promise to Solomon. It is important to understand that in 1 Chronicles 22 when David talks about his desire to build the temple for the Lord he recognises that God gave him a promise and told him that Solomon would succeed him long before that actually happened. In the  first five verses of 1 Chronicles 22 David has been talking about his desire to build a house for the Lord. He knows that God has prevented that but he wants to prepare things for his son to build the temple.


1 Chronicles 22:6 NASB "Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel." This is long before the events of 1 Kings chapter one. In 2 Samuel 7 we know that God has said that David's son is going to build the house, so David has already made it clear that his throne is going to go to Solomon. [7] "David said to Solomon, 'My son, I had intended to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. [8] But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed {so} much blood on the earth before Me. [9] Behold, a son will be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days." Verse 9 tells us that this promise was given before Solomon was born; it predated the giving of the Davidic covenant. It was given not long after he marries Bathsheba. So apparently in the chronology we have the David and Bathsheba incident, then after that God gives a foreshadowing of the covenant before Bathsheba ever becomes pregnant with Solomon. Then we find out in 1 Kings chapter one that David tells Bathsheba that Solomon is going to be his heir, because she reminds him of that promise. Then sometime later God appears to David in the events described in 2 Samuel chapter seven and 1 Chronicles chapter seventeen and that is when He formerly gives the Davidic covenant. So throughout this period it was clear to David, clear to Bathsheba, clear to Solomon even as he grew older, that Solomon was the designated heir and he would be the one to build a house for God's name.


Some observations


1.  The promise was given before Solomon was born and before the Davidic covenant was given in 2 Samuel 7.

2.  The promise specifies Solomon as the heir.

3.  The promise specifies that Solomon would build the temple.

4.  In 1 Chronicles 22:13 a condition is given: obedience to God's will. "Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel…" That is terminology that goes right back to Deuteronomy 28.

5.  Since Solomon and all who followed him failed spiritually these promises had to point to someone greater than Solomon, someone who could actually do one hundred per cent obedience.

6.  What we see here is a promise of God in the Davidic covenant that instead of David building a house for God, God is going to build a dynasty for David.


In 2 Samuel 7 what we see is that the Davidic covenant is an outgrowth of the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant promised a land, seed, and blessing. The land was expanded in Deuteronomy 30 in the land covenant, the seed is going to be expanded in the Davidic covenant, and this terminology is picked up in 2 Samuel chapter seven. It is literally "the seed of your loins" is going to receive the blessing. The English doesn't use specific terminology but the Hebrew does and ties it right back to the seed promise. The new covenant will fulfil the blessing aspect.


When we come to the Davidic covenant we have key Scripture in 2 Samuel 7:11-14; 1 Chronicles 17:10-14; Psalm 89. The persons involved are God and David. God is party of the first part and David is the party of the second part. In the Old Testament there is two types of covenant. One covenant is called a suzerain vassal treaty; the other is called a royal grant. The vassal treaty was designed to induce the obedience of a vassal and to protect the rights of the suzerain. But a royal grant is a grace gift, a reward given by the king to a loyal and faithful servant. The Adamic, Noahic and the Abrahamic covenants were all royal grants. They are designed to protect the right of the servant and to expand them as a reward for faithful obedience. That is what the Davidic covenant is.