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Literature: Books of Kings
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 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.

These books contain the following tropes

  • The Alcoholic: King Elah of Israel.
  • 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]"?).
  • Cain and Abel / Red Oni, Blue Oni: Israel and Judah.
  • Chronic Villainy: Judah often backslides after a "good" king dies.
  • 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 deeds of Israel's kings
  • Curse: Joshua cursed whoever rebuilds Jericho. This came true in the reign of Ahab.
  • Death by Falling Over: King Ahaziah of Israel.
  • Downer Ending
  • 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
  • Egopolis: Israel during the reign of Omri.
  • Evil Matriarch: Jezebel and Athaliah (the latter was not above killing her own grandchildren to secure her own power.)
  • Fatal Flaw
    • Solomon's dissatisfaction with his life.
    • Elah's drunkenness.
    • Ahab's inability to stand up to his wife.
    • Joab's violence.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Jezebel and Athaliah.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Manasseh.
  • Hope Spot: Chronicles ends with the proclamation of Cyrus the Great allowing the Jews to return to their homeland.
  • 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.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: There was a famine during the time of Elijah & Elisha, so there are instances of cannibalism.
  • Jerkass: Rehoboam, Solomon's son.
  • Klingon Promotion
  • Last Of Their Kind: Elijah and Elisha were the last miracle workers in the Old Testament.
  • 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.
  • Name's the Same: Jeroboam II is a descendant of Jehu, not Jeroboam I.
  • Pet the Dog: Chronicles does this for the bad kings of Judah and even the Northern Israelites in the few times they are mentioned.
  • Polyamory: Turned Up to Eleven: Solomon has 700 wives and 300 concubines.
  • Puppet King: Israel & Judah had their share.
  • The Purge: Oh, so much.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: King Abijah of Judah gave one about Jeroboam in Chronicles.
  • 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.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The Kings books lean towards cynicism, while the Chronicles are more idealistic.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't make fun of someone's baldness lest they will call upon God to summon two bears to maul you and your friends.
  • The Starscream: Majority of Northern Israel's kings.
  • Suck Sessor: Terrible kings often followed good ones, but every so often good kings followed terrible ones. (At least in Judah, anyway. The book of Kings grades all of Israel's rulers as evil.)
  • 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.
  • Troll: Elijah does this to Baal's prophets, even remarks on Baal sitting on his "throne"
  • Vice City: North Israel. Especially pronounced in Amos.

Books of SamuelSacred LiteratureBook of Esther
Books of SamuelLiterature/The BibleBook of Esther
Books of SamuelClassic LiteratureBook of Esther
Book of JudgesNon-English LiteratureBook of Proverbs

alternative title(s): Books Of Kings; Kings
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