Creation. Fall. Creation. Fall.
All of these things have happened before and all of them are happening again.
I really think the first 14 chapters of 1 Kings are all setup, and here we enter a regular rhythm, and we begin to see the fallout. It’s like the first half was winding up a top and now we’re watching it spin. And what we’re seeing is the same thing we’ve been seeing in the biblical story.
The major plot points of Kings so far have been Solomon building the temple and the kingdom splitting a part. It’s like Kings’ own version of Creation and Fall. In the building of the temple we see God’s dream realized (partially) of living among humanity. In the division of the kingdom, we see humanity’s exercise of free will and the devastating consequences of bad decisions.
At this point in the story, we enter a regular rhythm of briefly summarizing each king of Judah or Israel. Each one is held up to either David or Jeroboam. David represents a good king, faithful to God. And Jeroboam represents an evil king, unfaithful to God.
The increasingly poor decisions of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam have brought the situation that the people God chose to be a light to the nations are at war with one another. This is a bad, bad thing. But still God doesn’t give on this people. That’s an important thing to get out of Kings. It’s what’s so flabbergasting about the first chapter of Matthew’s story about Jesus. It’s just a list of names, but Kings shows us that it’s so much more than names. Right there in the thick of Jesus’ great-great-grandfathers:
and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah [Abijam], and Abijah the father of Asaph [Asa]
Even amidst these idolatrous kings and weak leaders, God is at work, laying the foundation for the ultimate king of Israel, the king of all creation—Jesus.
You can read more about kings Abijam and Asa in 2 Chronicles 13–16.