the book of Kings

The Arrival of Kings

I started working on my commentary for 1-2 Kings in 2012. My doctoral dissertation was focused on 2 Kings (the dynasty of Jehu), so I was excited to look at the whole book in depth. Over the past decade, I spent a lot of time working through some great scholars who had written commentaries before me (Wiseman, Cogan/Tadmor, Barnes, Brueggemann, Fretheim, Wray Beal).

Last Thursday, my 1-2 Kings commentary arrived from Zondervan. It is volume 10 in The Story of God Bible Commentary series.

There have been a number of crises along the way. I’ve had a few health struggles, but fortunately, I’m doing well now. Early in the process, I undertook more than I should have and had three book contracts, and I had many sleepless nights thinking I wouldn’t be able to finish any of them. Since starting, I’ve lost a brother-in-law, a mother and a father. My father, the professor, would have been particularly excited to see this one. Alas.

I start the book with a story from a grad school class I took on corporate failures–what can we learn from companies that went bankrupt. I continued, “The book of Kings tells the story of many failures: how Solomon’s sin led to the division of the monarchy, how Jeroboam’s sin plagued the Northern Kingdom for centuries, and how persistent apostasy resulted in exile for both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Why would anyone want to read such a depressing story?…Because one can learn a lot from failure–ideally when other people are doing the failing.”

Many people helped me write it. All my teachers from InterVarsity, Fuller, and Oxford taught me how to study the Bible. My family, as always, read portions, and helped me think of stories and illustration.

But my dedication focuses on my students:

To all the students and friends from InterVarsity, Missio Seminary, and dozens of churches from all over the world where I’ve had the privilege to teach the Word of God. Your wisdom appears on every page.

Thank you to all who assisted in this process.