Literature / Books of Kings

“And the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me in being king over them… Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them they ways of the king who shall rule over them.’”

The 11th and 12th books of The Bible.

1 Kings tells of Israel's Golden Age under Solomon but he also sows the seeds of rebellion which leads the nation to divide into Northern Israel and Southern Judah.

2 Kings continues the history of the divided nations. Both go into a downward spiral until they are destroyed by foreign nations and their peoples sent into exile.

In Christian Bibles it is followed by 1 & 2 Chronicles, a Lighter and Softer rehashing of Kings focusing exclusively on the southern Kingdom of Judah to inspire the Jews exiled to Babylon. Most of the Prophets preached during this period so they will be discussed here also. In the Jewish Tanakh it is followed by the Book of Isaiah. (Chronicles is relegated to the Ketuvimnote ).

These books contain the following tropes

  • 0% Approval Rating: King Jehoram of Judah was recorded as having died "without being desired" in 2nd Chronicles 21:20, meaning that he was so unlikable as king that nobody was sad to see him go.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Prior to overthrowing a wicked king of Israel, God sends a prophet to explain why the king will be overthrown (and his family killed). Still, the next king will institute the same blasphemous practices of his predecessor and suffer the same fate.
    • More specifically, Ahab witnesses God’s miraculous victory over Baal at Mount Carmel and the subsequent slaughter of Baal’s priests. Yet when he flees back to Jezreel and reports what happened to Jezebel, he consents to her plan to have Elijah killed.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Solomon marries Pharaoh’s daughter and many other foreign princesses, which ultimately leads him to worship their gods.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Elijah accuses the people of Israel of being this, but they continue their apathy until Elijah defeats the priests of Baal at Mount Carmel.
    “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal follow him.’ And the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21, English Standard Version)
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • Solomon’s inauguration was so loud that Joab could hear the trumpets from miles away in En-Rogel!
    • Subverted at Rehoboam’s inauguration, when Jeroboam interrupts it to demand Rehoboam make reforms.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • In 1 Kings 17:8-24, After Elijah was directed to a house in Zarephath and he supplied food to a widow and her son, the boy felt ill and became breathless. Elijah prays to God three times, hoping that God would let the boy's life return to life. God heard Elijah's cry and returned the boy's life to him, resurrecting the child.
    • Elisha did two, in 2 Kings 4:32-37, he prayed to God to resurrect the son of a Shunammite woman while staying with the child, and the other one is done posthumously in 2 Kings 13:21, by having a corpse landed onto the bones of Elisha.
  • Bargain with Heaven: God promises Solomon that “if you walk in My ways, keeping my statutes and commandments as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days” (1 Kings 3:14, ESV). For much of Solomon’s life, he stayed true to his word, and Israel reached the height of its power. Once Solomon broke his word, Israel’s slow decline began.
  • Bears are Bad News: Elisha summons two bears to maul 42 young bandits for mocking his bald head (and possibly implying that they would send him to heaven, i.e., kill him, although the phrase could also mean "why didn't you go up to heaven [like Elijah did]"?).
  • Big Word Shout: "TREASON! TREASON!" from Queen Athaliah when she realized Jehoiada the priest and the people plotted to put Joash, the rightful heir of the Davidic kingdom, on the throne behind her back.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Kings Joash and Josiah of Judah were both children when they were crowned king. Of course, Jehoiada the priest acted as a co-regent to help Joash grow into the role of a godly king, at least as long as the priest lived. After Jehoiada died, King Joash did a Faith–Heel Turn and was eventually killed.
  • Chronic Villainy: Judah often backslides after a "good" king dies. Of course, its final backslide leads to their people being taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
  • Civil War:
    • The war between Israel and Judah begins when Jeroboam leads ten tribes to split away from the kingdom of Israel from Rehoboam. It lasts until Kings Ahab and Jehoshaphat unite to fight Syria. There was also a later union of Kings Jehoshaphat and Joram against Moab.
    • In Israel, between Omri and Tibni son of Ginath after King Zimri's death, which led to Omri being king of Israel.
  • Crapsack World: Foreign invasions from without and political upheaval from within.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: References are made about another book (presumably lost) detailing the rest of the deeds of Israel's kings
  • Curse:
    • Joshua cursed whoever rebuilds Jericho, saying whoever lays its foundations will lose his firstborn and whoever sets up its gates will lose his youngest child. This came true in the reign of Ahab.
    • Gehazi, Elisha's servant, is cursed with leprosy along with his family line when he secretly went to Naaman the Syrian to receive a reward that Elisha refused for curing his leprosy.
    • Elijah calls a curse on the family of Ahab and Jezebel when Jezebel has Naboth the Jezreelite killed by royal decree so her husband can possess Naboth's field. Because Ahab humbled himself before God when he realized that there was a curse on him, the curse wasn't fully carried out until Jehu son of Nimshi was anointed king of Israel.
  • Death by Falling Over: King Ahaziah of Israel. Of course, it wasn't the fall through the lattice that ultimately caused his death, but his choosing to seek out out a false god instead of the Lord about whether he would survive or not that sealed his fate.
  • Decadent Court: Elah, king of Israel, was “drinking himself drunk in the house of Azra” when Zimri leads The Coup against him.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Jehu had Ahab's seventy sons killed by their servants and their heads put into baskets and displayed at the entrance of the gate of the town of Jezreel.
  • Defiled Forever: Israel is compared to a spoiled, pampered, virginal princess, who is then raped and taken into captivity.
    • In the book of Ezekiel, Israel and Judah are compared to young girls who prostituted themselves in Egypt and were graciously taken as wives by God (despite their history... or maybe because of it), and given everything they could possibly want and more... only to lust after Assyrian soldiers (that is, desire political alliances with neighboring superpowers instead of relying on God to protect and provide for them) and go back to their old whoring ways. Both end up being killed "and their names became bywords among women."
  • Dishonored Dead:
    • Queen Jezebel isn't given the honor of a burial, for her body had been eaten by dogs. Her son King Joram had his body thrown into the plot of land formerly owned by Naboth the Jezreelite after Jehu son of Jehoshaphat had killed him.
    • Of the kings of Judah, Jehoram is not buried with the other kings due to being rather nasty, and Azariah/Uzziah is buried in a field due to being a leper.
  • Downer Ending: The books of Kings, that is. The books of Chronicles, however, ends with King Cyrus of Persia calling for the return of the Jews to their own homeland, setting up for the events in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
  • Driven to Suicide: King Zimri of Israel lasted only a week as king when he found himself surrounded by Omri's forces that he decided to burn his house down with himself still inside it.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Jehu, the charioteer. So much so that lookouts who see his chariot approaching can tell him apart from anyone else before he's even close enough to identify by sight.
    ...and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously. —2 Kings 9:20
  • Dying Curse: In 2nd Chronicles chapter 24, after King Joash's Face–Heel Turn, Zechariah the son of Jehoidada tells the king, "Thus says God: 'Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you.' " When the king commanded Zechariah to be stoned, his last words were, "The LORD look on it, and repay!" Sometime after, the LORD brought judgment upon Joash by bringing the armies of Syria against Judah and Jerusalem, and he was killed.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Solomon loved monkeys so much he had them imported (1 Kings 10:22)
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Solomon seemed to think so—he had 700 wives and princesses!
  • Evil Matriarch: Jezebel and Athaliah (the latter was not above killing her own grandchildren to secure her own power.)
  • Eye Scream: King Zedekiah had his eyes put out by King Nebuchadnezzar in Riblah after being captured and seeing his sons being killed.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When the soldiers came to kill Jezebel, she faced them while wearing her full royal attire. The affect was sort of diminished after centuries of this being interpreted as her being a prostitute.
  • Face–Heel Turn/Faith–Heel Turn:
    • King Asa was a faithful follower of God for most of his life, but in 2nd Chronicles chapter 16, when Hanani the prophet called him out and condemned him for relying on help from the king of Aram instead of the Lord, Asa threw the prophet into prison and started oppressing the people. It got to the point where Asa ended up having diseased feet, of which he sought help from the physicians instead of from the Lord.
    • King Joash of Judah after Jehoiada the priest died. He was a faithful follower of the Lord from childhood and even helped to restore the Temple with the money the people brought in, but after the priest's death he turned against the Lord and eventually suffered because of his rebellion. Some Bible students blame this on Jehoiada failing to pass on his faith in the Lord to the king that he acted as a co-regent of.
  • Fair Weather Friend: After hearing that David held a massive inauguration for Solomon, “then all the guests of Adonijah trembled and rose and each went his own way” (1 Kings 1:49).
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: "And [Elisha the prophet] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth young men out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two young men of them." Turns out God doesn't take kindly to youngsters making death threats ("Go on up" basically meaning "Go join your predecessor Elijah in Heaven" in this context) against His prophets.
  • Fatal Flaw
    • Solomon's dissatisfaction with his life.
    • Elah's drunkenness.
    • Ahab's inability to stand up to his wife.
    • Joab's violence.
    • Josiah rushing off to battle when the Pharaoh Neco warned him not to.
    • A good king of Judah failing to remove the high places of worship. This flaw lasted up until the time of King Hezekiah.
  • Foreshadowing: Elisha feeds 100 prophets with only 20 loaves of bread. For Christians, this foreshadows Christ feeding the 5,000 men plus women and children.
  • God Needs Prayer Badly: Defied at the showdown at Mount Carmel, which showed that all the prayers in the world mean nothing if your God isn’t supreme, and little is needed if He is.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Jezebel (tried to destroy Judaism) and her daughter Athaliah (had all her grandkids killed, save one, almost destroying David's royal line)
  • God Test: Elijah challenges the worshipers of Baal to a contest where the god who answers by lighting a sacrifice on fire is determined to be God. Needless to say, the contest didn't end well for the Baal worshipers, even after Elijah makes it "nearly impossible" for God to light his sacrifice on fire.
    • Elijah applies this to himself when Ahaziah keeps sending a captain and fifty men to bring Elijah to him to prophesy a healing. Each time a captain approaches him, they refer to Elijah as a “man of God,” to which Elijah responds, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down and consume you.” And then fire comes down and consumes them. This is done to demonstrate a greater God Test: that only God can save the king, not Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron.
  • Guardian Angel: God provides an invisible army of horses and chariots of fire to protect Elisha from the Syrian army.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Chronicles describes King Manasseh who "filled the land with innocent blood from one end to the other" returning to God late in life after his enemies took him captive. They returned him to his kingdom (though his son Amon was on the throne by then) to finish out his life. Most likely the basis for the apocryphal Prayer Of Manasseh. Considering that he was Josiah's grandfather (and Josiah's reign started when he was just eight years old), it seems likely that Manasseh passed some of the lessons he'd learned on to his grandson, warning him not to go ticking off God the way he (and his son Amon) had with all the evil they'd done.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: The LORD proves He is the God of both the hills and the valleys by leading Israel into victory over Syria in both landscapes.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • Elijah has one after he is forced to go into hiding when Jezebel order him killed after his victory at Mount Carmel.
    • King Josiah has one when he hears the Book of the Law being read before him and realizes that the people of God are in trouble, thus tearing his robes.
  • Holy Is Not Safe:
    • In 2nd Chronicles, Solomon had to set up a separate palace for his wife, the Pharaoh's daughter, to live in instead of having her live in King David's palace, because the places that the ark of God have went to were holy.
    • Also in 2nd Chronicles, despite warnings from the priests, King Uzziah attempted to burn incense in the temple as a sacrifice to God. God got extremely angry at him for performing a task exclusively reserved for priests and so the king was struck with leprosy.
  • Honest Advisor: Micaiah son of Imlah, a prophet of God that King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat consult for advice concerning the battle of Ramoth Gilead. King Ahab hates Micaiah because "he never prophesies anything good, but bad." When Micaiah is asked for his prophetic advice concerning whether the kings should engage in the battle or not, Micaiah sarcastically agrees with the words of King Ahab's other prophets that the kings should engage in the battle — until King Ahab reminds Micaiah to only tell the truth in the name of the Lord, and then Micaiah prophesies to the effect that they should refrain because King Ahab will fall in the battle. That only confirms in King Ahab's mind about what he thought of the prophet, but Micaiah also tells the king that God had purposely sent a lying spirit to the mouths of his other prophets so that he would engage in the battle and fall. King Ahab orders that Micaiah would be put into prison and be fed bread and water until he returns in peace, but Micaiah warns that if King Ahab ever returns in peace, then the Lord has not spoken through him.
  • Hope Spot: Chronicles ends with the proclamation of Cyrus the Great allowing the Jews to return to their homeland. Also, for all of his Knight Templar qualities and the shrinkage of northern Israel's borders in his time, Jehu's reign actually proved to be a significant moral improvement over his predecessors'.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Jehosaphat's alliance with Israel had terrible consequences. Pagan practices spread to Judah, he was almost killed in battle because of Ahab, his venture into maritime commerce ended in disaster and his daughter-in-law Athaliah almost destroyed David's royal line.
  • Hot Consort: Abishag, both figuratively and literally, as Abishag was brought to David to keep him warm, except that there was nothing sexual going on between them.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: There was a famine during the time of Elijah & Elisha, so there are instances of cannibalism, and people Driven to Madness by hunger enough to see their own children as potential food.
  • Intimate Healing:
    • In the first chapter of 1st Kings, David's wise men look for a beautiful young woman that can lie on the king's bosom to keep him warm, and the woman they found was Abishag, who tended to this duty without anything sexual going on between them.
    • Done twice by the prophets Elijah and Elisha with their resurrection miracles as mentioned in Back from the Dead requiring lying down on top of the children they were praying for.
  • Invulnerable Horses: Averted in the battle between Israel and Syria, in which “the king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and struck the Syrians with a great blow” (1 Kings 20:21).
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Jerusalem, according to the narrative in 2nd Chronicles chapter 36, when God's warnings through His prophets have been mocked at and ignored by the people for so long, the only thing left for God to do is send judgment on them.
  • Jerkass: Rehoboam, Solomon's son. He was given the advice of taking it easy with the workload and taxes on the people of Israel, but instead he chose to make things harder on them, thus causing ten of the twelve tribes of Israel to revolt and form a new kingdom.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Trope Namer. The story recounts that two mothers living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son, came to King Solomon. One of the babies had died, and each claimed the remaining boy as her own. Calling for a sword, Solomon declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother thought the ruling fair, but the other begged Solomon, "Give the baby to her, just don't kill him!" The king declared the second woman the true mother, as a mother would even give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life. This judgment became known throughout all of Israel and was considered an example of profound wisdom.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: David tells Solomon to finally seek justice against Joab, who killed Abner decades earlier despite David pardoning him. Joab is killed while seeking protection at the altar, in the same way he killed Abner despite him having royal protection.
  • King on His Deathbed: David, despite being on his deathbed, ensures Solomon’s succession over Adonijah. His final recorded words are encouragements to Solomon.
  • Klingon Promotion: This happens several times through the course of the northern kingdom of Israel's history.
    • Jeroboam I's son Nadab is killed by Baasha who succeeds him as king, killing off the entire family of Jeroboam in the process.
    • Baasha's son Elah is killed by Zimri who succeeds him as king, doing the same thing to Baasha's entire family.
    • Jehu son of Nimshi kills off Ahab and Jezebel's entire family and succeeds them as king.
    • Jehu's great-great-grandson Zechariah is killed by Shallum, who as king is later killed by Menahem, who succeeds him as king.
    • Menahem's son Pekahiah is killed by Pekah, who as king is later killed by Hoshea, who succeeds him as the last king.
  • Last Of Their Kind: Elijah and Elisha were the last miracle workers in the Old Testament.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail:
    • The writers of the Books of Kings only discuss the parts of the kings’ reigns that they considered relevant regarding Israel/Judah’s covenant with God. All other details are left out. Lampshaded throughout the books, with the description of each reign ending with the words, “Now the rest of the acts of X, are they not written in …”
    • Also applies to the Books of Chronicles, though in Solomon's case, it's to leave out any mention of his Polyamory leading to his idolatry.
  • Lethal Chef: Somebody in 2nd Kings 4:38-41 finds a strange batch of gourds that he nearly poisons others with by making them into a stew. Fortunately Elisha the prophet with the help of God makes the stew harmless to eat.
  • Love Ruins the Realm: Solomon allows his wives to worship their own gods, rather than forcing them to convert. They eventually persuaded him that their gods were better, leading him to idol worship (as well as many of his subjects.) This leads to religiously-motivated civil war.
  • Make an Example of Them: Implied to be at least part of the reason Elisha calls for the she-bears to tear apart 42 boys for mocking his baldness. This came right after Elisha assumed the mantle of head prophet, and some were doubting his succession. This act made clear Elisha was no longer just the Sidekick.
  • Makeup Is Evil: Queen Jezebel notoriously put on makeup before confronting God's prophet. Unfortunately, it didn't stop her from becoming dog food.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Solomon’s fall from grace is blamed on his many marriages to foreign women.
  • Meaningful Name: Jabez (whose name is "sorrowful" or "pain", the very same Jabez who made the prayer that became the basis for the spiritual self-help book The Prayer Of Jabez) in 1st Chronicles 4:9-10, because his mother said, "Because I bore him with sorrow."
  • Musical Episode: 1st Chronicles chapters 13, 15, and 16 recap David's attempt to bring the Ark of God into Jerusalem from 2nd Samuel chapter 6, with chapter 16 featuring David singing a psalm to the Lord when he is successful.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: The Shunnamite woman whom Elisha stays with in 2nd Kings is given one when Gehazi his servant tells that not only does the woman have no child, but also that her husband is old, suggesting that a bit of the supernatural also worked on him as well in order to produce the child.
  • Name's the Same: In-universe, Jeroboam II is a descendant of Jehu, not Jeroboam I.
  • Nasty Party: Jehu son of Jehoshaphat ordered a group of Baal's priests to assemble together in the central temple of Baal for a huge sacrifice, pretending that he was planning to worship Baal far more than his predecessor ever had, but his real purpose was to have his men exterminate them all, thus ridding the northern kingdom of Israel of Jezebel's institution of Baal worship for good.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: Solomon creates a rival in Hadad the Edomite by wiping out much of his tribe. But after describing Hadad's back story, he is never mentioned again.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After God blinds the Syrian army to prevent them from killing Elisha, Elisha prevents the Israelite army from killing the Syrians and even feeds the Syrians and allows them to return to Syria. Soon after, however, the entire Syrian army puts all of Samaria under siege, causing a countrywide famine.
  • Polyamory: Turned Up to Eleven: Solomon has 700 wives and 300 concubines.
  • Playing with Fire: Elijah incinerates much of Israel during his time as a Badass Preacher, including all the foreign prophets who opposed him during a dramatic standoff. He also flew to heaven on a chariot drawn by flaming horses.
  • Plunder:
    • In 2nd Kings chapter 7, the people of Samaria plunder the entire camp of the Syrian army after God caused the army to flee at the sound of chariots, horses, and a large army, making the army think that the king of Israel had hired the kings of the Hittites and the Egyptians to attack them. Thus was fulfilled what Elisha had prophesied, that a measure of fine flour would be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel.
    • In 2nd Chronicles chapter 20, King Jehoshaphat and his army came down to the Wilderness of Tekoa and sang praises to God, and because of this, the Ammonites and the Moabites ended up defeating each other, causing so great a slaughter that it took three days for Jehoshaphat and his men to take all the plunder.
  • Princeling Rivalry: Solomon vs. Adonijah
  • The Purge:
    • The entire families of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Baasha, and Ahab and Jezebel were wiped out by those who would succeed them as kings of Israel.
    • In 2nd Chronicles chapter 21, King Jehoram purposely had his brothers killed when he became king so that there would be no rivals to the throne.
    • Queen Athaliah nearly wiped out all the royal bloodline of the Davidic kingdom of Judah so she could reign as queen. Joash was spared that fate and raised in secret until he was old enough to assume the throne.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: King Abijah of Judah gave one about Jeroboam in 2nd Chronicles 13:4-12.
    “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! Do you all not know that the Lord God of Israel has perpetually given the kingdom of Israel to David, even to him and to his sons with a covenant of salt? And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon son of David, stood up and rebelled against his lord Rehoboam. Then vain, worthless men gathered together around him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon. And Rehoboam was young and timid in heart and was not strong before them. And now you think that you can withstand before the kingdom of the Lord by the hand of the sons of David. And you all are a great multitude, and with you are the golden calves that Jeroboam has made for you to be gods. Have you all not driven out the priests of the Lord, even the Levites and sons of Aaron, and made for yourselves priests from the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to be dedicated and has in his hand a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest to what is not a god. But for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned Him. And our priests serve the Lord and are sons of Aaron, Levites with their service. They sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord every morning and evening and put out an incense of spices. They also set the showbread in place on the ritual table and set the golden lampstand with its lamps to burn every evening. For we keep the duty of the Lord our God, but you all have abandoned Him. God is with us as a leader, and His priests with their battle trumpets to call for battle against you all. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord the God of your fathers because you will not find success.”
  • Refuge in Audacity: Despite Jezebel having put a hit out on Elijah, Elijah confronts Ahab at Naboth’s vineyard after Jezebel has killed Naboth killed and pronounces a curse on the Ruling Couple.
  • Remember the New Guy: Elijah, one of greatest prophets in the Bible, is first mentioned when pronouncing a curse of no rain over Israel. He is given minimal introduction, and there is no explanation of his background except that he is from Tishbe, but he suddenly becomes The Protagonist for the rest of the book.
  • La Résistance: God assures Elijah that there are seven thousand in Israel who have not “bowed to Baal.”
  • Royal Harem: Solomon has quite a large one! In The Song of Solomon, though, none of them quite compare to the figurative Shulamite that Solomon seems to have an attraction to.
  • Rule of Seven: Naaman is told by Elisha to go dip himself in the Jordan River seven times to be cured of his leprosy. At first Naaman refused, but when his servants persuaded him to do so, even if the man of God would tell him to do something difficult, Naaman went ahead with the method and thus was cured.
  • Ruling Couple: Ahab and Jezebel. Considered an evil ruling couple by God's standards, with Ahab just letting his wife have her way in the kingdom, even going so far as to engineer the death of an innocent civilian just because he legally wouldn't sell his vineyard to the king.
  • Serial Escalation: In 1 Kings 14, Jeroboam did more evil when whomever preceded him. Later, in 1 Kings 16, Zimri was described as evil, and the two following kings (Omri and Ahab) did more evil than any before.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: David had a ward in his old age, who he explicitly is said to have not have had sex with, but who nearly everyone thought was a concubine. One of his sons even asked to marry her, perhaps to lay a claim to the throne.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Ahab has Micaiah imprisoned after Micaiah prophesies that Ahab will die in battle.
  • Showdown at High Noon: The showdown at Mt. Carmel is a religious Ur-Example. Elijah and priests of Baal show up at a designated time with all the townspeople surrounding them. The contest is based on the premise that this country ain’t big enough for Yahweh and Baal. And it ends with Yahweh “firing” first, and all the priests of Baal being killed.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Elisha, who long served as Elijah’s Sidekick, becomes the leading prophet of Israel after Elijah is taken up to heaven. Some of the “sons of the prophets,” while recognizing that the “spirit of Elijah” now rested on Elisha, did not accept that Elijah was gone looked for him in the mountains. Only when they failed to find Elijah and Elisha performed several miracles did the sons of the prophets accept Elisha as the new pre-eminent prophet.
  • The Siege:
    • Samaria endured a siege by the Arameans during the time of King Joram of Israel that caused a famine among its people. The siege ended when God caused the Aramean army to flee for their lives, leaving behind great amounts of plunder that the people of Israel made use of.
    • Jerusalem endured a siege at the time of King Zedekiah, with the Babylonians as the invaders. Eventually the city got sacked, the king was captured, and most of the people except for the poorest of the land were deported.
  • Sinister Minister: A false prophet from 1st Kings chapter 13 deceives a true prophet of God to return to his home and eat bread, although God has commanded that prophet not to do so. Although that prophet dies for disobeying the word of the Lord, the false prophet tells his family to bury him alongside the true prophet because he realizes that what the true prophet of God has prophesied concerning the altars that Jeroboam had built for his false gods will come true.
  • Smash the Symbol
    • After slaying the worshipers of Baal in the northern kingdom of Israel, Jehu proceeds to destroy its temple and turn it into an outhouse.
    • After the reign of King Zedekiah, the Babylonians proceed to destroy the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't insult and threaten God's prophets, or God might just summon bears to maul you. (God apparently preferred something a little more original than a classic Bolt of Divine Retribution this time around. It also has a bit more flair than the Muslims' prescribed punishment: "If you do, we'll cut your head off.")
  • Sucksessor: Terrible kings often followed good ones, but every once in a while good kings followed terrible ones. (At least in Judah, anyway. The book of Kings grades all of Israel's rulers as evil.)
  • Super Speed: In 1st Kings chapter 18, when God ends the drought over the northern kingdom of Israel by sending rain, He gives the prophet Elijah this kind of power when he outraces King Ahab on foot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Elisha, both figuratively and literally, when he succeeds Elijah as the prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel when Elisha sees Elijah being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. The mantle which Elijah used to part the waters of the Jordan when he and Elisha crossed over did the same thing when Elisha used it to cross back over the Jordan.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: King Manasseh shed so much innocent blood in Jerusalem that the writer of 2nd Kings says God couldn't forgive such an action, which became the reason that Judah was overrun by the Babylonians and its people taken into exile.
  • Throne Made of X: Solomon's throne demonstrated just how wealthy and powerful he was.
    “Then he made a large throne. It was covered with ivory. And that was covered with fine gold. The throne had six steps. It had a rounded top. The throne had armrests on both sides of the seat. A statue of a lion stood on each side of the throne. Twelve lions stood on the six steps. There was one at each end of each step. Nothing like that had ever been made for any other kingdom.” (1 Kings 10:18-20)
  • Too Dumb to Live: The King of Israel sends some soldiers to bring Elijah to him. Their leader isn't very respectful, so Elijah makes a snarky comment and burns them with divine fire. The King sends a second group of soldiers, and their leader, apparently not noticing the charred corpses and burned rocks and whatnot, makes the exact same disrespectful demand as the first. The results are predictable. Thankfully, the third batch learned from their mistakes and humbles himself before the prophet.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Jeroboam had a young son, Ahijah, who died of illness. He was the only one in the family to be buried and mourned because he was the only one in whom God found any good.
  • Tragic Mistake
    • Hezekiah showed off Judah's treasures to Babylonian envoys and ended up putting his country on Babylon's hit list.
    • Josiah goes off to fight against Egypt and gets killed.
  • Trash the Set: The Babylonians destroy the Temple and leave it in ruins until the time of the Persian-Medo empire when the Jewish exiles returned home.
  • Traumatic C-Section:
    • In 2nd Kings 8:12-13, Elisha told Hazael, the servant of King Ben-Hadad of Syria (Aram), that he would become king and then he would attack the people of Israel and rip open pregnant women in the attacks.
    • In 2nd Kings 15:16, Menahem, the Klingon Promotion successor to King Shallum of Israel, attacked Tiphsah and all the territory of Tirzah, because they did not open to him, ripping open pregnant women as he struck down the people.
  • Troll: Elijah does this to Baal's prophets, even remarking that maybe Baal is doing his "business" or (as another translation puts it) "stopped by the wayside."
  • Turn the Other Cheek: When the Syrian army surrounds Elisha’s home in order to kill him, God blinds the army, and Elisha leads them to Samaria, where they are then surrounded by the Israelite army. But when the king asks (twice!) whether they should kill the Syrians, Elisha objects and instead orders that they be fed and allowed to return to Syria. Later, when the Syrian army puts Samaria under siege, leading to a countrywide famine, the Israelite king calls for Elisha to be beheaded!
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The reigns of Nadab, Elah, and Ahaziah each only lasted for two years each, and little else is said about them. But that’s nothing compared to Zimri, who was only king for seven days!
  • Where Is Your X Now?
    • When Elijah competes with the priests of Baal over whose god can light their sacrifice, he makes fun of the other priests using lines similar to this trope.
    • King Sennacherib of Assyria does this to King Hezekiah when he threatens to destroy Judah, saying "where are the gods" of the nations that he had conquered and suggesting that Hezekiah's God will not save him. It doesn't work well for the Assyrian king when, after King Hezekiah prays to God, Sennacherib finds that all 185,000 of his troops are dead.
  • Written by the Winners: More like Written by the survivors, but it holds true all the same. Around 720 BC Israel was overrun by the Assyrians while Judah was saved by a timely civil war that shortly thereafter broke out in the Assyrian Empire and continued to exist for a good 200 additional years. Thus, all somewhat contemporary surviving records of that time come from the priesthood in Jerusalem, which explains why the inhabitants and kings especially of the northern kingdom are described in such a negative light.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: King Ahab is warned by Micaiah the prophet that he will die in the battle of Ramoth Gilead. Ahab tries to avert the disaster by dressing up in different clothes before going into battle while King Jehoshaphat wears his royal clothes, hoping that the Syrian army will go after Jehoshaphat instead of him. However, an arrow shot at random pierces King Ahab.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Isaiah the prophet tells King Hezekiah to get his house in order because he was going to die soon of a seemingly incurable illness. Hezekiah prays desperately to God, and God has Isaiah tell the king that He will give him fifteen more years to live.

Alternative Title(s): Kings, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/BooksOfKings