Background to Kingship in Israel

  • Refers to the manner in which a community’s way of life is ruled or controlled.
  • When the Israelites settled in Canaan for the first 200 years they were ruled by judges.
  • The first judge was Joshua who took over after Moses died in the wilderness.
  • The period after Joshua’s death was characterized by political and social disorganization and was between the Israelites and their neighbouring nations.
  • To restore order, God raised judges to rule over the people of Israel e.g.
  • Othniel – Judges 3:9 – 10.
  • Eliud – Judges 3:15.
  • Shamgar – Judges 3:31.
  • Deborah – Judges 4:4.
  • Gideon – Judges 6:11 – 24, 7:1 – 2.


The Roles of the Judges/ Characteristics of judges

  1. They were charismatic.
  2. Temporary leaders who led the Israelites battles.
  3. Upheld covenant faith.
  4. Acted as God’s spokesmen/women and.
  5. Settled disputes.
  6. They ruled Israel on behalf of God.
  7. Some judges acted as God’s prophets.
  8. They acted as religious leaders and led the Israelites during religious functions.
  9. Acted as the conscience of the nation/kings.
  10. Condemned idolatry and preached the worship of Yahweh.


  • Prophet Samuel was the last judge. When he grew old, he appointed his two sons as judges, but they failed as leaders.
  • The people of Israel went to Samuel and demanded for a king.


 (1SAM 8:1 – 9)

The people requested Samuel to choose for them a king because:

  • Samuel’s sons were bad and evil leaders/failed as judges/perverted justice and therefore the people rejected them.
  • The Israelites wanted to be like their neighbouring nations/other nations who had earthly kings.
  • They needed a leader/warrior king who would lead them to war against their enemies e.g. the Philistines.
  • They wanted a stable hereditary leadership.
  • They wanted a human leader who could be recognized by other nations.
  • A leader to organize them.
  • Wanted a political nation governed by law and order instead of a theocratic government.
  • Samuel had grown too old and needed a replacement.
  • They failed to understand that Yahweh was their unseen King. God alone chooses rulers.



 1 SAMUEL 8:10 – 20

The following are the reasons why Samuel was unwilling to choose a king;

  • Choosing a king meant rejecting of God as their ruler/king/challenged the kingship of God over Israel.
  • The king would force people into military services.
  • The king would introduce forced labour in Israel.
  • The king would introduce slavery in Israel.
  • The king would grab their land and property.
  • The king would impose heavy taxation to maintain the army
  • The king would demand free food and services.
  • The king would Force people’s daughters into inter-marriage.
  • The king would take their daughters to be perfumers and cooks in his palace.
  • In becoming like other nations, the Israelites would lose their identity as a covenant people.
  • Hereditary kingship would bring oppression and dictatorship in Israel.
  • It was a way of not appreciating/ not being thankful for God’s deliverance from Egypt/ Exodus.
  • If ruled by the king the Israelites would lose their identity as God’s chosen people/people of the covenant.
  • The king would not be God’s choice and thus would not rule according to God’s will/ demands.
  • The king would deviate/ divert people’s attention from God and the covenant way of life.
  • They will cry out to God and He will not listen.



 1SAM 13:1 – 14, 15:7 – 25, 28:3–19

Background to King Saul’s reign

  • When the elders of Israel went to Prophet Samuel and asked him to appoint for them a king, Samuel prayed to God seeking his guidance.
  • God told him to obey the voice of the people.
  • He sent him to a man called Saul, son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin.
  • Samuel was to anoint him to become the King over Israel.
  • Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head from a flask he had with him. (I Sam 10:1)
  • Therefore Saul became the first King of Israel.
  • Samuel made it clear to the Israelites that they still remained God’s people.
  • An Israelite King would still remain the servant of God. The king was to rule God’s people according to the covenant way of life.
  • He explained to the people the rights and duties of the king. He wrote them in a book and laid it before the Lord,(I Sam 12:14 – 15.
  • The initial appointment of Saul as King of Israel was in accordance to God’s will. He approved of Saul’s leadership in the following ways:
    1. Saul was Yahweh’s own choice. (I Sam 9:16; 10:24).
    2. Saul received God’s spirit, which gave him power to act as God’s appointee. (ISam 10:10)
    3. Through Yahweh’s help, soul fought against all Israel’s enemies everywhere and won e.g.
  1. Fought against the Ammonites (ISam 11:1).
  • Led a successful war against the Philistines, thus saving Israel from their enemy (ISam 14:47).
  1. Defeated the Amalekites (I Sam 15).

However Saul failed and was rejected as King.  He had a number of weaknesses that led to his failure and final rejection by God.


King Saul’s failures/ weaknesses

  1. He became impatient and offered sacrifices to God at Gilgal instead of waiting for Prophet Samuel, I Samuel 13:1 – 14. He assumed priestly duties by offering sacrifices.
  1. He disobeyed God’s command and failed to carry out the law of total destruction of a conquered enemy/  The Law of herem or the ban(I Sam 15:1 – 23) failing to destroy everything i.e. during the mission against the  Amalekites.
  2. The spirit of God left Saul and was replaced by an evil spirit which tormented him and     made him like a madman. I Sam 16:14.
  3. He was jealous of David for his success as a warrior (I Sam 18:7 – 8, 19:1 – 22)
  4. He massacred the Gibeonites contrary to an Oath taken during the time of Joshua.
  5. Saul committed the sin of necromancy when he consulted a medium after the death of Samuel. I Samuel 28:3 – 25


Lessons learnt from king Saul’s failures.

  1. Christians should be patient and wait for God’s intervention in times of crisis. Saul lost patience when Prophet Samuel delayed in coming on the appointed day.
  2. Christians should be obedient and faithful in God/patient.
  3. Political leaders should be more accommodating to people who hold different views and ideas from their own.
  4. Christians should be sincere in the worship of God. To be sincere means to be truthful or honest about our actions.
  1. Leaders should be God fearing so as to succeed in their leadership.



He was the second King of Israel.

He was anointed by Samuel after Saul failed.

He is regarded as the most successful King in Israel.

Importance:  Refers to his successes, achievement and qualities.


King David’s achievements as the king of Israel

 I Sam 16:1 – 23, 2 Sam 6:1 – 15

  1. He was chosen by God to be the king of Israel/anointed by God’s prophet Samuel.
  2. David was filled with God’s spirit right from the time of anointing/throughout his reign.
  3. He had outstanding qualities of leadership e.g. he was charismatic, generous, patient, honorable, wise, brave, eloquent in speech, God-fearing.
  4. He knew and obeyed God/He was a man after God’s own heart/faithful/ trusted God throughout his life.
  5. David consulted prophets of God in all undertakings.
  6. David was acclaimed/accepted/chosen as King of Israel by the whole of Israel at Hebron, 2 Sam 5:1 – 5
  7. He courageously fought and defeated his enemies e.g. the Philistines.
  8. He captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites/He made it the political administration capital for the nation and a religious centre.
  9. He chose Jerusalem a neutral city of his nation. 2 Sam 5:6 – 10, 6:1 – 19
  10. He recaptured the Ark of the Covenant.
  11. He united his people through personal efforts.
  12. He extended the boundaries of his kingdom by capturing smaller states.
  13. He established a standing army / he was a good military commander. He broke the Philistines control over Canaan once and for all and shut them up in coastal plain 2 Sam          5:17 – 25, 21:15 – 22.
  14. He also waged successful wars against Moab, Ammon, Edon, Amalek and Aram/Syria and concluded a treaty with the Phoenician King, and Hiram of Tyre. David came to be recognized as the ruler of an empire that stretched from Lebanon Mt. to the boarders of Egypt, from Med. Sea to the desert of Arabia.
  15. He established a long lasting dynasty /Davidic which lasted for 400 years.
  16. He was a shrewd/ good administrator /He chose wise elders and counselors to advice him.
  17. He organized religion through the Temple music/ composed Psalms.
  18. He was humble/ repentant. He was ready to accept the sins he had committed e.g. when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife and arranged for the death of her husband, he was later remorseful.  He put on Sackcloth as a sign of repentance after Prophet Nathan rebuked him for the offence (2 Sam 12:1 – 15).
  19. Divided his Kingdom into small administrative districts.
  20. He came up with the idea of building the Temple for God.
  21. God made a covenant with David through Prophet Nathan.
  22. David respected the Prophets of God and always consulted them whenever he wanted to do anything e.g. when he wanted to build the Temple he consulted Prophet Nathan. (2 Sam 7:1)
  23. He was a great diplomat and established good political relations with the neighbouring Kings.
  24. David ruled over Israel, administering Law and justice to all people, (2Sam 8:15).
  25. He insisted on taking census of all Israel 2Sam 24: 1 – 9. The information collected was for the purpose of recruiting young men into military service and deciding on the policy of taxation.
  26. He made his nation rich by taxing his enemies


David’s weaknesses

However David had some weaknesses e.g.

  1. He committed adultery with Uriah’s wife.
  2. He plotted for Uriah’s murder.
  3. He coveted his neighbor’s wife.
  4. He forced a soldier to meet the wife.
  5. He broke military laws by putting Uriah in the frontline instead of the back.
  6. He married many wives which took a large portion of state money.
  7. Conclusion: He repented and God forgave him.


 The importance of David as an ancestor of Jesus Christ

  2Samuel 7:1 – 29, Luke 1:26 – 3)

  • David intended to build a splendid temple for God after he had accomplished building a palace for himself in Jerusalem, 2 Sam 7:1 – 29.
  • He felt it was not fair for the Ark of the Covenant to continue dwelling in a tent while he himself lived in a magnificent palace.
  • He consulted Nathan the Prophet to find out whether it was in order to do so.
  • The Prophet approved the idea.
  • Later that night, Nathan received a revelation that stated that David was not to build a house/ temple for God; (2 Sam 7:5 – 6)


Promises God made to David through Prophet Nathan

In 2 Sam 7:9 – 16 is a summary of the divine promises made to David by God. These are as follows;

  1. God promised to Keep David and his descendants safe from all enemies.
  2. God would give David’s descendants a place to settle/their own land.
  3. God promised to raise up an heir from the house of David to sit on the throne.
  4. He promised to let David’s son be the one to build a temple for him.  God’s relationship with this king would be like that of a father to his son.
  5. God promised to establish an everlasting kingdom for David and his descendant rule forever.
  6.  God promised to make David’s name greater or famous among all other leaders of the earth.
  7. God would protect David’s descendants from oppression and make them live in peace.
  8. God would bury David with ancestors.
  9. God would punish David’s son when he did wrong.
  10. God would always support David’s heirs.
  11. The Messiah would come from David’s lineage.
  12. God would protect David from his enemies.


The immediate fulfillment of these promises was seen in the reign of King Solomon, David’s son and successor.

  • Solomon did build the Temple of God 1Kings 6:1.
  • Solomon’s reign was marked by a period of peace and prosperity since David had subdued all the enemies of Israel.


David as an ancestor of Jesus Christ


  1. Jesus was born in the family of David.
  • Joseph was a descendant of David Luke 1:26
  1. Angel Gabriel in his annunciation message to Mary says that Jesus will be like his ancestor David Luke 1:32 – 33.
  2. Zechariah in his Benedictus says that God has raised up a savior descended from the house of David Luke 1:69.
  3. Jesus was born in Bethlehem which was also the birth place of David. Luke 2:4.
  4. The blind man at Jericho hailed Jesus as the son of David and looked to him to restore his sight Luke 18:38.
  5. Jesus was hailed by the crowd as the Messiah descended from David during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Math 21:9).
  6. God promised David that he would have an everlasting kingdom and Jesus established the Kingdom which does not have geographical boundaries/an everlasting kingdom.
  7. The early apostles like Peter and Paul made a number of references to Jesus as a descendant of David. Acts 2:29 – 35, 13:23.







Ways in which David demonstrated his faith in God/promoted worship of Yahweh

  1. He accepted to be anointed by Samuel as next King.
  2. He killed a bear and lion bare handed as a shepherd of his father’s flock.
  3. He trusted God and killed Goliath using a stone.
  4. He consulted God in all his undertakings.
  5. He accepted God’s promises made to him through Prophet Nathan.
  6. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem making it a religious capital
  7. Though faith in God he conquered all Israelites enemies.
  8. He wanted to build God a house/temple.
  9. He danced before God and made sacrifices to him after bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.
  10. He composed Psalms.
  11. He repented after sinning.
  12. He strongly believed that God had given him the power.
  13. He advised his son Solomon to be confident and obey God’s Laws if he wanted to be a successful King in Israel.
  14. He was humble before God and attributed his successes to God.
  15. He taught the Israelites that Yahweh was their King.
  16. He fasted and prayed.



Good leaders should:

  1. Have faith in God. A leader should be a God fearing man/seek God’s guidance as all authority comes from him.
  1. Have courage/bravery and fearlessness in spite of many dangers: a leader should be more courageous than his people.
  2. Be just and fair. All leaders must ensure that there is fair treatment for all in society/was a good administrator/ he never favoured anyone.
  3. David led his armies into battles. Christian leaders should be in the forefront when their people have problems to be solved.
  4. When David sinned he was ready to ask for forgiveness from God.  A leader should accept mistakes and be willing to ask for forgiveness/ repentance.
  5. David consulted the prophets of God in all his undertakings. A leader needs to     recognize God’s chosen servants, priests; pastors co-operate with them and constantly ask Gods guidance before indulging in any venture.
  6. David had a forgiving heart towards some of the offenders e.g. spared Saul’s life 1 Sam 24:10. Therefore modern leaders should be willing to accommodate their rivals even forgive their offenders.
  7. David felt that he was ruling for God. He was just a servant of God not his master. A leader should lead as a servant of God.
  8. A leader should be patriotic to his country and be ready to sacrifice his life for the sake of unity, love and peace.
  9. A leader should be patient in decision making. David gave his people to decide whether to accept his rule or not.
  10. Loyalty. David drew support of his subjects and never imposed his will on them.  Modern leaders should never betray their oath of loyalty they make to serve their subjects faithfully after taking office.
  11. David always thanked God for any success or favours he received from him (Samuel 7:18 – 29).  Modern leaders should not be boastful over their personal achievements.  It is God who gives such success.
  12. Obedient and humble. He humbled himself before God and his Prophets and obeyed God’s commands/compassionate, loving, kind and merciful. He was tolerant with King Saul.  He also helped the needy.
  13. Shrewd administrator. He chose wise leaders to help and advise him. Modern leaders should choose wise people to advise them in their administrative duties.



 I Kings 3-11

Solomon inherited the Kingdom from his father David.

His task was to maintain and control a peaceful territory established by his father.

Solomon prayed to God for divine wisdom in the execution of his duties as a result he made many achievements.

King Solomon’s achievements

  1. He built a Temple for God in Jerusalem as a fulfillment of God’s promises to David. (I Kings 5, 6)
  2. He collected and composed thousands of proverbs and songs which were used in teaching and worship (3,000 Proverbs 1,005 songs) (Prov. 1:1 – 5)
  3. He established and developed trade links with other countries which led to economic prosperity in Israel/ He was a successful merchant.
  4. Solomon initiated industrial activities and exploited copper deposits in the area of Edom which had been conquered by David.
  5. He developed diplomatic relations with foreign countries by marrying the daughters of the Kings of those countries e.g. Married the daughters of the Kings of Egypt, Moab, Edom, Tyre and many others I Kings 3:1, 1:1)  He remained at peace with those countries.
  6. He built up a professional army equipped with horse drawn chariots, Had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen I Kings 10:26.
  7. He had government officials who assisted Solomon in his administrative duties. (I Kings 4)
  8. He was a great wise man e.g.
  9. He was able to judge difficult cases and settle disputes fairly ( in the story of two women (I Kings 3:16 – 28)
  10. His wisdom is seen in the way he organized trade with other countries.
  11. The queen of Sheba (Ethiopia travelled all the way to test Solomon’s wisdom. (I Kings 10:1 – 9)
  12. Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple of Jerusalem which represented God’s presence among his people (I Kings 8).
  13. He built himself a palace that took 13 years to be completed (1 Kings 7).
  14. Solomon divided the kingdom into administrative districts in order to exploit the resources effectively.
  15. Solomon initiated an ambitious building programme in which he fortified Jerusalem and other cities.

King Solomon’s failures

Although Solomon was a successful King, he had many failures. These include;

  1.  He married many foreign wives who brought with them the worship of foreign gods to    Israel.  Ex 34:16.
  2. He allowed his foreign wives to worship their gods in Israel.
  3. He built high places of worship/temples for the gods of his wives. Ex 20:4 – 5.
  4. Solomon worshiped the gods of his wives alongside the God of Israel thus broke the covenant with God.
  5. He imposed heavy taxation on his subjects and his districts in order to raise part of the government revenue.
  6. Solomon overspend and misused the wealth of the Kingdom by building a huge palace.
  7. He overtaxed his subjects to maintain high standard of living in his royal court/ was extravagant.
  8. He introduced forced labour to carry on his building programmes. E.g. palace and temple, therefore breaking the covenant rule of brotherhood.
  9. He gave King Hiram of Tyre an area of Israel’s land to pay off his debts thus treating the nation’s land as his own personal property.
  10. He killed his half brother Adonijah (1Kings 2) because he suspected that Adonijah could be his rival to the throne thus committing murder.
  11. He practiced nepotism by exempting his own people from taxation and forced labour i.e. tribes of Judah and Benjamin exempted from forced labour and payment of taxes.
  12. He hired the skills of pagan craftsmen in the construction of the Temple and his palace.
  13. He made treaties with foreign Nations/neighbouring nations against the covenant requirements.


Lessons Christians learn from King Solomon’s reign

Christians should;

  1. Be sexually pure.
  2. Be Monogamous. Solomon’s seven hundred wives led him into worshipping their foreign gods.
  3. Be just and fair.
  4. Respect and honour God.
  5. Not misuse national resources.
  6. Put God above everything else.



I Kings 12.

The death of Solomon and the Division of the Kingdom

After the death of King Solomon, his son Rehoboam succeeded him.

Not all tribes of Israel accepted him as their King and therefore it split into two.

The Northern 10 tribes formed Israel while the 2 Southern tribes formed Judah.  Judah retained Jerusalem as the capital city.

Factors that led to the division/reasons for the rise of schism in Israel

  1. Solomon practiced idolatry which made God to punish him by splitting the kingdom.
  2. Solomon built high places for idols.
  3. The introduction of forced labour and heavy taxation led to discontentment among the Israelites and this made them rebellious.
  4. Solomon had many foreign wives who brought with them the worship of foreign gods to Israel.
  5. Rehoboam’s failure to heed to the elders wise counsel to rule the Israelites less harshly.
  6. Rehoboam’s acceptance of the foolish advice given by the youth to rule the people more harshly than his father had angered the people.
  7. Long standing feuds in David’s house.
  8. Jeroboam was ready to lead the rebellious groups against Rehoboam.
  9. Solomon’s favor extended towards the Southern tribes making the northern tribes to rebel/Solomon practiced nepotism and tribalism making northern tribes rebel.



The Temple of Jerusalem played important roles in religious, social and economic lives of the Israelites.

  1. 1 .It symbolized God’s presence among his people through the Ark of the Covenant which was kept in the Temple.
  2. It was a dwelling place for God. I Kings 8:12 – 13.
  3. It was a centre/house of worship and prayer for the Jews/ priests offered sacrifices, burnt incense and prayers to God in the Temple.
  4. All the Jewish Religious festivals/feasts such as Passover, Pentecost and New Year were celebrated in the Temple.
  5. The Temple was a symbol of national security because the Jews believed that the Temple would never be destroyed.
  6. Religious rites were performed in the Temple e.g. Purification and dedication rites, naming, circumcision of baby boys and lepers were cleansed in the temple.
  7. It was a place for pilgrimage for the Jews living in Palestine and the Jews of the Diaspora
  8. It was a commercial centre and housed the Jewish treasury where currencies were exchanged and animals for sacrifices sold.
  9. It was a centre for Jewish learning where the teaching of the law was conducted
  10. It was used as a law court where social and religious issues could be solved by the Sanhedrin/council of Jewish religious leader.
  11. It was a symbol of Jewish unity. It united the Jews as the people of God, since it was    built and maintained by Kings.  It was a royal sanctuary thus providing stability for the           monarch.
  12. It was the residence for the religious leaders and the place where priests and prophets Lived, e.g. prophetess Anna, Luke 2:36 – 38.
  13. The Jews believed that the Messiah would appear in the Temple.
  14. The Temple was the only place where sacrifices to God were offered by the priests.
  15. God revealed himself to many in the Temple e.g. Hannah, Isaiah etc.
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