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Literature / Books of Kings
aka: Kings

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“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 ).


Structure of the books:

1st Kings:
  • Reign of King Solomon (1st Kings chapters 1 to 11)
  • Division of the kingdom (1st Kings chapters 12 to 14)
  • Reign of Kings Abijam and Asa in Judah (1st Kings 15:1-24)
  • Transitions in Israel from Nadab to Ahab (1st Kings 15:25-16:34)
  • The story of Elijah and the prophets (1st Kings 17:1-22:53)

2nd Kings:

  • The close of Elijah's ministry (2nd Kings 1:1-2:12)
  • The story of Elisha the prophet (2nd Kings 2:13-8:29)
  • Jehu takes over as king of Israel (2nd Kings chapters 9 and 10)
  • King Jehoash of Judah (2nd Kings chapters 11 and 12)
  • Kings Jehoahaz and Joash of Israel, and the end of Elisha (2nd Kings chapter 13)
  • King Amaziah of Judah (2nd Kings 14:1-22)
  • King Jeroboam II of Israel (2nd Kings 14:23-29)
  • King Azariah of Judah (2nd Kings 15:1-7)
  • The last days of the kingdom of Israel (2nd Kings 15:8-31)
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  • King Jotham of Judah (2nd Kings 15:32-38)
  • King Ahaz of Judah (2nd Kings chapter 16)
  • The Assyrians conquer the kingdom of Israel (2nd Kings chapter 17)
  • King Hezekiah of Judah (2nd Kings chapters 18 to 20)
  • Kings Manasseh and Amon of Judah (2nd Kings chapter 21)
  • King Josiah of Judah (2nd Kings 22:1-23:30)
  • The last days of the kingdom of Judah (2nd Kings 23:31-25:21)
  • Epilogue (2nd Kings 25:22-30)

1st Chronicles:

  • The genealogies (1st Chronicles chapters 1 to 9)
  • The history of Israel under King David (1st Chronicles chapters 10 to 29)

2nd Chronicles:

  • The history of Israel under King Solomon (2nd Chronicles chapters 1 to 10)
  • The history of Israel following the division of the kingdom (2nd Chronicles chapters 11 to 36)

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.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: Judea under King Josiah. As part of his reformation after Manasseh's excesses, his government purges the country of sorcerers and necromancers as well as the cults of the false gods.
  • Anti-Villain: King Ahab is said to be the most evil of all the kings of Israel, but can fairly easily come across as one of the most sympathetic instead when judged by how he acts in his "onscreen" appearances. Some of this is due to Values Dissonance (the narrator's main complaint against him is that he was tolerant of other religions, which many modern secular people will not think was that evil), but he also has many traits that would seem positive even at the time. For example, he is a capable soldier and statesman, brave in battle and yet magnanimous in victory (sparing the defeated Aramaeans and making an alliance and trade agreement with them instead of slaughtering them), and dies heroically fighting for his country. (Outside of The Bible, other old records also show that he was one of the leaders of The Alliance against the Assyrians, The Empire of the day.) In fact, other than his liberal religious policy, the only unambiguously evil things his regime is ever really shown to do aren't even initiated by Ahab, but are either done at Jezebel's instigation, or even done by her behind his back—and after her major atrocity (the judicial murder of the innocent farmer Naboth), Ahab is terribly regretful and ashamed about this. Of course, as the king he is still ultimately responsible for everything (and never punishes Jezebel for any of the evil things she does), but his characterization is very far from the cackling villain he is sometimes flanderized as in adaptations.
  • 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)
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Elijah in 2nd Kings chapter 2, presumably, when he was taken up into Heaven in a whirlwind. This is contested in 2nd Chronicles chapter 21, when years later from this event King Jehoram was given a letter written by Elijah telling him that he was going to die of an incurable sickness due to his terrible reign of Judah. It is also likely that the letter was written by his successor Elisha and that it was Wrongfully Attributed to Elijah by the author of the Chronicles.
  • Asshole Victim: King Jehoram of Judah, for his terrible reign of his kingdom, including slaughtering his brothers in order to keep the throne. Also Queen Jezebel, for her persecution and slaughter of the prophets of God among other things.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: In 2nd Kings 13:21, some Israelites who were in the middle of burying a dead man suddenly saw a Moabite raiding party, so they dropped the body into Elisha's tomb and ran off. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood on his feet.
  • 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.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Johnathan, the son of Abiathar the priest, was the one who gave Adonijah the bad news that his father had just had his half-brother Solomon crowned as king over 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]"?).
  • Bequeathed Power: In 2nd Kings chapter 2, before Elijah is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind, his assistant and future successor Elisha asks to have a double portion of his spirit to perform miracles with. Elijah replies, "That is a difficult thing to ask; however, if you see me going up, it will be so, but if you don't see me go up, it will not be so." True to Elijah's word, Elisha saw Elijah being taken up with his mantle falling to the ground, and Elisha picks up the fallen mantle and uses it to divide the Jordan River to cross over it safely, causing the sons of the prophets to recognize that the power of Elijah now rests on Elisha.
  • 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.
  • Blind Seer: Ahijah the Shilonite becomes this in 1st Kings chapter 14 around the time King Jeroboam's son Abijah becomes sick. Although Jeroboam's wife is told to disguise herself when approaching the prophet so that he would not recognize her, God tells Ahijah ahead of time who's coming to see him, and so instantly addresses her and her situation the instant she steps in.
  • Blood Bath: In some translations, 1st Kings 22:38 states that the prostitutes washed themselves in the blood that came from King Ahab when he died in his chariot returning home from his failed attempt to reclaim Ramoth Gilead.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: In 2nd Kings chapter 3, after God gives the kings and armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom the miracle of water to drink, the king and army of Moab goes out early in the morning and sees that those same ditches filled with water now appear to be filled with blood, making the king of Moab assume that the three opposing armies have killed each other. Surprisingly, this turns out to be a trap for the army of Moab, as the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom bring forth their armies to attack the army of Moab.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: Invoked by King Ahab of Israel, who enters a battle disguised as an ordinary soldier so the enemy won't recognize him. Unfortunately for him, a "random" arrow shot fatally wounds him anyway.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: When Elisha tells the Shunnamite woman he was staying with who couldn't bear any children that she was going to have a child in a year, she reacts in disbelief, saying, "O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!" But true to his word, God gives the woman a child to conceive and bear.
  • Cargo Cult: The bronze serpent Moses made in the book of Numbers to miraculously cure victims of poison snake bites was being worshiped as a god by the Jews by the time King Hezekiah became king. Hezekiah destroyed the serpent and called it Nehushtan ("a thing of bronze") to mock the Jews for their idiocy in worshiping a lifeless object.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Kings Joash and Josiah of Judah were both children when they were crowned king. 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. 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.
  • Clever Crows: In 1st Kings chapter 17, God sends ravens to feed Elijah with bread and meat during the drought until the river had dried up.
  • 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 when Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho, costing him his eldest son Abiram and his youngest son Segub, as recorded in 1st Kings 16:34.
    • 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, and Ahab's son King Joram was the one whose dead body would be cast into the field of Naboth.
  • Death by Falling Over: King Ahaziah of Israel. 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.
  • Death by Mocking: In 2nd Kings chapter 2, forty-two boys were torn apart by bears when they made fun of Elisha the prophet, mocking his authority as a God-anointed prophet.
  • 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."
  • Desecrating the Dead: In 2nd Kings chapter 23, in fulfillment of a prophecy made years before in 1st Kings chapter 13, King Josiah desecrates the bones of the dead priests that served the altars of the idols King Jeroboam I of Israel had set up by burning their bones on the altar to desecrate the altar itself, preventing anyone else from using it. He stops when he comes to the tomb of the prophet who declared that he would desecrate the altar and leaves his tomb alone.
  • 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.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: King Sennacherib of Assyria dared to make a boast that the Lord would not be able to deliver Jerusalem from his hand, as the gods of other lands were not able to deliver them from his hand. For this the Lord caused all 185,000 of his troops to suddenly die, and then later on the king himself was killed.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Elijah in 2nd Kings chapter 2 is carried off into heaven by a whirlwind. The sons of the prophets who saw Elijah and Elisha cross over the Jordan River to the other side and then later see Elisha return alone across the same river presume that Elijah had been carried off into some mountain and valley and begged Elisha that they would be sent to find him. Elisha eventually does let the sons of the prophets go to try finding Elijah, but after a few days, they came back and reportedly found nothing.
  • 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
  • Due to the Dead:
    • King Asa, who was a good king of Judah that turned bad in the latter part of his life, was given an honorable burial, as recorded in 2nd Chronicles 16:14.
    • Jehoiada the priest, who acted as a co-regent to the young King Joash of Judah, was given the honor of being buried in the tombs of the kings, the same of which was not given to Joash himself after his Faith–Heel Turn.
  • 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.
  • Eats Babies: In 2nd Kings chapter 6, during the famine that strikes the northern kingdom of Israel, King Joram deals with two women who made a pledge with each other to eat each other's babies, that while one of the women's babies was eaten, the other woman took hers and hidden the child away.
  • 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:
    • Queen Jezebel is portrayed as being a bad influence on her sons even after they became kings.
    • Queen Athaliah took it to another level, when she tried to have all of her own grandchildren killed. Supposedly, she did that to keep all the power to herself. Only one of her grandsons survived.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Elisha's faith in God caused an iron ax head to float in water when somebody tried to cut wood with an ax and its head slipped off the handle and fell into the water.
  • 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 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.
  • Fainting: Believed to have happened to the priests in the Temple during its inauguration in the days of King Solomon, as recorded in 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles, when the glory of the Lord filled the Temple and the priests couldn't stand to minister because of the presence of the glory.
  • 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" meaning "Go join your predecessor Elijah in Heaven" in this context) against His prophets.
  • The Famine:
    • Prophet Elijah told the impious king Ahab that no rain would fall for three and half years. It ended right after Elijah held a contest between himself and the prophets of Baal to determine whose god is truly God, with Elijah coming out the winner and the prophets of Baal the slaughtered losers.
    • The town of Samaria, besieged by the Syrians, suffers a penury of food leading some to resort to cannibalism. It ends when Elisha prophesies about a great amount of food that will be sold at dirt-cheap prices, which is fulfilled when God causes the Syrian army to flee from their camp with all their stuff and food supplies behind.
  • 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.
  • 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, with far fewer resources at hand.
  • Friend to All Living Things: When Elijah was a wanted criminal for his prophecies and had fled into the wilderness to escape the Israelite police, the ravens there brought him food so he wouldn't starve.
  • General Ripper: General Jehu can come across as a very early example: an undisputed Four-Star Badass, he is also a fanatical fundamentalist who launches a Military Coup to root out the kingdom's ungodly leadership when a prophet tells him to, and then a violent purge of all supporters of the old regime, as well as everyone who followed the religion of Baal and Astarte. He is a heroic example, however, since (according to the narrator, at least) God really did approve of everything he did. Although, when all was said and done, Jehu only got rid of the Baal worship and not also the idol worship that was instituted by the first King Jeroboam, and thus his dynasty only lasted until the fourth generation. (According to the prophet Hosea, God thought that Jehu may have gone a little too overboard in his zeal for purging out both the royal family of Ahab and Baal worship.)
  • Get Out!: In some translations, Elisha was jeered at by some boys who were saying, "Get out of here, baldy! Get out of here, baldy!" He called down a curse upon them, and a female bear mauled forty-two of the boys.
  • Give Me a Sign: When King Hezekiah asks of Isaiah whether the Lord will give him a sign that he will recover of his seemingly incurable illness, Isaiah offers Hezekiah a choice of whether the shadow of the sundial of Ahaz should go back ten degrees or go forward ten degrees. Hezekiah, knowing that it would be too easy for the shadow to go forward ten degrees, asks for the shadow to go back ten degrees, and thus it was done.
  • 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 has been saddled with a reputation as this for millennia. She is accused of trying to kill every one of the Lord's prophets in the country, and having an innocent man killed because he didn't sell his vineyard to her husband.
    • Athaliah (Jezebel's daughter) is said to have had all her grandkids killed. Only one of her grandsons survived, so she almost destroyed David's royal line.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: In the challenge between Elijah the prophet and the prophets of Baal, when the latter prophets were calling on Baal to light their sacrifice and started to leap around the altar, Elijah taunts them to call louder, saying that Baal is probably asleep and must be awakened.
  • 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.
  • Good Is Not Soft: King Josiah is said to have been the most utterly incorruptibly pure king in the entire Old Testament, and was a good and just ruler who cleaned up in Judah after Manasseh's reign and created happiness and justice for his people. However, he could still be quite brutal on the wicked. For example, as part of his religious reform campaign, he had the idolatrous priests sacrificed on their own altars. (Which might sound harsh to modern people, but makes sense in the context of the time—especially if they were priests of Moloch.)
  • The Good King: King Jotham of Judah, of whom both the books of Kings and Chronicles have little bad to say about him, except that "the high places were not removed". His distant successor Amon, by contrast, is just evil throughout and has nothing good said about him, though fortunately he had a short reign before he was killed.
  • Good Running Evil: When King Sennacherib of Assyria planned on destroying Jerusalem and King Hezekiah of Judah prayed to God, God through the prophet Isaiah has a message sent to the Assyrian king to tell him that he is just a vessel in God's hand for the purpose of destroying kingdoms whose gods aren't really gods, and that because of his rage against God Himself, God will have him destroyed.
  • Greed: Elisha's servant Gehazi in 2nd Kings chapter 5 was greedy for a reward Naaman the Syrian was offering that Elisha had rejected, so he secretly went to Naaman to get the reward himself. However, Elisha knew what his servant did and thus cursed him with leprosy.
  • Guardian Angel: God provides an invisible army of horses and chariots of fire to protect Elisha from the Syrian army.
  • Healing Spring: The Jordan River, which in itself provided no supernatural healing, but Naaman the Syrian was told to dip himself in it seven times to be cleansed of his leprosy. Naaman refused to do this at first, claiming that the rivers in his own country are far better rivers to be dipped in, but Naaman eventually gives in and thus is cleansed of his leprosy.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: A favorite verse used by modern-day Evangelicals is 2nd Chronicles 7:14, which was originally spoken to King Solomon by God in regard to the people of Israel: "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
  • Heir Club for Men: Usually kingship in Israel and Judah would pass on to one of the king's sons, though near the final years of Judah's existence as a kingdom, when King Jehoahaz was deposed and brought as a prisoner to Egypt, his brother Eliakim took his place and was renamed King Jehoiakim. Then after Jehoiakim's son King Jehoiachin was deposed and taken to Babylon, Jehoahaz' other brother Mattaniah took his place and was renamed King Zedekiah. It was hardly ever given to one of the king's daughters, which was part of why after King Ahaziah died, his mother Athaliah killed all but one of the king's sons (who escaped slaughter by being secreted away by the king's sister) so she could become queen herself, though it lasted only until the king's son (Joash) was old enough to assume his rightful place on the throne.
  • Henpecked Husband: King Ahab comes off as rather wimpy in these books, allowing his domineering wife Jezebel control the country. This is taken Up to Eleven when he lets her frame a man for crimes he didn't commit and have him executed, because he wouldn't sell his vineyard to him. Ahab should have told Jezebel that this was against the law of Moses, according to which not even a king had a right force anybody to give up their property. But he could never pick up the courage to do that.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity:
    • In 1st Kings chapter 20, the LORD proves He is the God of both the hills and the valleys by leading Israel into victory over Syria in both landscapes.
    • In a list of famous warriors who served King David, 1st Chronicles 12:1-7 names 23 Benjaminites who "were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed".
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • 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.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: By implication, all the "good" kings would have been this (since homosexual practices were outlawed in the Law of Moses). However, it's most explicit with Josiah, who is said to have destroyed the homes of the qedeshim in Jerusalem (and then presumably either killed them or deported them out of the kingdom, the text isn't quite clear on that). Qedeshim is translated as "sodomites" in the King James Version—other Bible translations can render it a little differently, but most agree that it has something to do with homosexuality.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: In 1st Kings 20:35-37, a prophet of God needs to be beaten and bruised in order to deliver the message God had for King Ahab regarding the king of Syria that he granted mercy unto after handing him two defeats with the help of God.
  • Holy Ground: King David's palace is treated as that by King Solomon in 2nd Chronicles since the Ark of God had been there, so he had his wife, the Pharaoh's daughter, moved into a separate palace built for her.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: 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'. Which really isn't saying much when Jehu only gets rid of the Baal worship and not also the idol worship that King Jeroboam I had instituted years ago.
  • 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, who was brought to King David to keep him warm in his final years, except that there was nothing sexual going on between them.
  • Human Sacrifice: Besides the religious sacrifice of children that pops up in the kingdom of Judah whenever an evil king rules the throne, the king of Moab in 2nd Kings chapter 3 sacrifices his firstborn son on the wall when he saw that he could not prevail against the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom and their armies.
  • 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.
  • If I Can't Have You...: In the Judgment of Solomon when the king decided to deal with two women arguing over whose baby it is by cutting the child in two, one of the women pleaded for Solomon to spare his life and give him to the other woman, while the other woman basically said, "Let him neither be mine nor yours; have him be cut in two."
  • Ignored Expert: Micaiah son of Imlah, who prophesied that King Ahab was going to fall in battle at Ramoth Gilead. King Ahab persisted in engaging the battle, though dressed as a regular soldier in the hope that he would avert this fate, but an arrow shot at random strikes and kills him anyway.
  • Improbable Food Budget: With God's help, a widow woman of Zeraphath was able to feed herself, her son, and the prophet Elijah for many days on just what little flour and oil she had left in the house, which upon Elijah's arrival would have been enough for just one cake of bread that would barely feed herself and her son.
  • 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.
  • Invisible to Normals: God's cavalry of horses and chariots of fire surrounding the place where Elisha and his servant were living in 2nd Kings chapter 6, protecting them from the Syrian raiders. At least they remained invisible until Elisha prayed to God for his servant's eyes to be opened, and thus it was revealed.
  • 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.
  • Kangaroo Court: Naboth the Jezreelite was given a sham trial by order of Queen Jezebel when she had false witnesses accusing Naboth of cursing both God and the king and having him executed soon afterward so her husband King Ahab could legally own Naboth's vineyard.
  • 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.
  • The Kingslayer: Zimri earns this reputation for killing his master King Elah, so much that he brought wrath upon himself with Omri leading the charge against him. Jehu also earns the same reputation, to the point where Queen Jezebel calls him Zimri before her servants throw her down to be trampled underfoot to death. In fact, Jehu kills both Jezebel's son King Joram as well as King Ahaziah of Judah on the same day.
  • 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 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 family.
    • Jehu son of Nimshi kills off Ahab and Jezebel's 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 David's case, it's to leave out any mention of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and its subsequent consequences with his family; in Solomon's case, it's to leave out any mention of his Polyamory leading to his idolatry as well as his Protagonist Journey To Villainy.
  • 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.
  • Long List: 1st Chronicles chapters 1 through 9 is a list of people starting from Adam down to the descendants of the Israelites at the time they were called to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem. The early chapters focus merely on the lineage of Adam through Seth that produced the Israelites and then the Davidic lineage of kings.
  • 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.
  • Lured into a Trap: In 2nd Kings 9:23 in the Common English Bible, King Joram of Israel yells to King Ahaziah of Judah, "It's a trap!" when the two kings find themselves face to face with Jehu son of Nimshi, who was anointed and sent by God to destroy the whole house of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
  • Magic Music:
    • In 2nd Kings chapter 3, Elisha gets a message from God to give to the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom through a minstrel playing music.
    • In 2nd Chronicles chapter 20, King Jehoshaphat leading his army to the Wilderness of Tekoa to sing praises unto God has caused three enemy armies to end up fighting each other to the death.
  • 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. King Ahab of Israel's marriage to Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal the Sidonian is mentioned as being worse than all the other sins the king had committed, because it was through her that Baal worship was introduced to the northern kingdom of Israel.
  • Matter Replicator: Elisha the prophet (or rather, God working through Elisha) causes a single jar of a widow's oil to be replicated into multiple jars in 2nd Kings, allowing her to pay off her creditors and to live off the rest.
  • Meaningful Echo: In 2nd Kings chapter 2, Elisha cries out “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” when he sees his master and mentor Elijah the prophet go up into heaven in a whirwind. Years later, in Chapter 13, Joash king of Israel would say the same to Elisha upon his death bed, meaning that Elisha has earned his place alongside Elijah as a true prophet of God.
  • 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."
  • Miracle Food: God performed a miracle with the Zeraphath widow woman's meager food supply so that she could feed herself, her son, and Elijah the prophet for many days out of the little flour and oil she had that would be enough only to make one small cake of bread. Also God multiplied loaves for the sons of the prophets during the days of Elisha's ministry as a prophet, giving them more than enough food to feast upon.
  • Model Planning: In 2nd Kings chapter 16, when King Ahaz went to meet with King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria, he saw an altar there in Damascus that he wanted to have built in Jerusalem so he could use it for worship. He sent a pattern of it (most likely a model) to Uriah the priest to have it built by the time he came home to Jerusalem.
  • 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 Syrian army puts all of Samaria under siege, causing a countrywide famine.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • The king of Moab did this to his eldest son that would reign after him in 2nd Kings chapter 3 when he realized that he could not defeat the amassed forces of the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom.
    • Queen Athaliah did this with King Ahaziah's sons after he died at the hands of Jehu son of Nimshi in 2nd Kings chapter 11, although his sister Jehosheba took Joash and hid him away for several years until her husband Jehoiada the priest installed him as the rightful heir of the Davidic kingdom.
  • The Paralyzer: The prophet from Judah that was called to prophesy against King Jeroboam of Israel and the altars he had set up for the idols he created for the ten-tribe kingdom to worship in 1st Kings chapter 13, who by the power of God caused King Jeroboam's hand to wither so that he could not bring it back to himself, paralyzing him until the king entreated the prophet to be healed.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: In 1st Kings chapter 3, when King Solomon threatens the life of the child by having him be cut in two when two women argue over whose child he is, one of the women pleads with Solomon to spare him his life and to be given to the other woman, while the other woman is fine with just having the child be cut in two. Solomon determines that the woman that pleaded for the child's life is the actual mother and rewards custody to her.
  • Plunder:
    • In 2nd Kings chapter 7, the people of Samaria plunder the 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.
  • Polyamory: The case for the kings of both Judah and Israel, though for Solomon, it was Turned Up to Eleven, for he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. This eventually came to an end with the last king of Judah, when King Nebuchadnezzar brought King Zedekiah and his royal family to Babylon.
  • Pooping Food: The Rabshakeh that King Sennacherib of Assyria sends to threaten Jerusalem tells the people in 2nd Kings that the siege they plan against the city will be so bad that people will end up eating their own dung and drinking their own urine.
  • Princeling Rivalry: Solomon vs. Adonijah. Although Adonijah's attempted ascent to the throne was overthrown by King David having Solomon officially anointed as king, Adonijah attempted yet again in a more underhanded way by requesting his father's consort Abishag to be given to him as a wife. This resulted in his death along with Joab's death and the removal of Abiathar as high priest.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: There's a theme running through these books: if you belong to the "right" religion, you're a hero; if you belong to the "wrong" religion, you're the villain. But it never becomes more obvious than with antagonist Jezebel and protagonists Elijah and Jehu. As soon as she begins a persecution of Jahve's prophets, this is treated as proof of how evil Jezebel is. Which would have been fair... Except for that when Elijah and Jehu start killing off Baal's prophets, this is portrayed as awesome acts of badassery!
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Solomon is presented this way. At first he is a wise and just ruler—but his desire to make Israel great gradually leads him down the path of questionable decisions (e.g., forcing conscription on the people, marrying foreign princesses as part of his aggressive diplomacy). By the end of the story, he has become a tyrant who behaves a lot like the Pharaoh the Hebrews fled from in Moses' time, and the country is on the verge of open rebellion when he dies.
  • Punished for Sympathy: In 1st Kings chapter 20, after the armies of King Ben-Hadad of Syria have been defeated twice by the armies of Israel with the help of the Lord, the Syrian king decides to surrender in humility to the king of Israel and make a treaty of peace with him. Because the king of Israel accepted a peace treaty with a man that the Lord had appointed to utter destruction, He sent a prophet to warn the king that his life will be taken for the life of the king of Syria, and the lives of Israel for those of Syria.
  • The Purge:
    • The 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.
  • Quit Your Whining: Queen Jezebel had this attitude toward her husband King Ahab when she found him sulking, because he was unable to obtain the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. Then, she promises him that she will get him the vineyard he wanted. Unfortunately, she decides to do this by framing Naboth for crimes he didn't commit, which leads to him being executed.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: King Abijah of Judah gave one about Jeroboam in 2nd Chronicles 13:4-12. (Granted, this is coming from a king that 1st Kings already testifies as "walking in the sins of his father", but still...)
    “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.
  • Ruling Family Massacre: This happened a few times with the kings of Israel (namely, the dynasties of Jeroboam I, Baasha, and Ahab) and Queen Athaliah almost decimated the Davidic dynasty in the kingdom of Judah except for one child that was spared to take the throne when he was of age.
  • Salt the Earth: What the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom are commanded to do the people of Moab by Elisha the prophet in 2nd Kings 3:19.
    "You will strike every fortified city and every choice city, and will cut down every good tree, and stop every spring of water, and you will ruin every good piece of land with stones.”
  • Seeking Sanctuary: Joab in 1st Kings chapter 2 sought this by grabbing the horns of the altar in God's holy tent from King Solomon seeking after him to put him to death for his seditious act of siding with Solomon's half-brother Adonijah. This didn't work, as Joab was slain right at the altar when he refused to come out.
  • Self-Made Man: General Omri is not given the usual "son of..." patronymic most other major characters sport, which would indicate that he was a commoner whose parents weren't considered worth mentioning. Still, he became supreme commander of the Army—and later king, when the Army refused to recognize Zimri's coup against King Elah and appointed Omri regent instead.
  • 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.
  • Short-Lived Leadership: 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!
  • 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 will come true.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The Kings books are more cynical (they won't hide that otherwise good people like Solomon made mistakes, and they end when Jerusalem is destroyed and most Jews become captives), while the Chronicles are more idealistic (they just ignore those less flattering stories about David and Solomon, and they end when the Jews are allowed to return to their homeland, though they do expose the flaws of some of the "good" kings of Judah and reveal that King Manasseh in all his evilness had a Heel–Face Turn).
  • Smarter Than You Look: Jezebel is the "sexy, but actually pretty smart" kind. She can both read and write, even though she's only a woman, and knows enough about lawyerly things to construct a convincing legal frame-up to trap Naboth. This may be because she is a Phoenician princess originally (and possibly a priestess, as royal women there often were), and so was given a formal education (which Israelite women normally weren't).
  • 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.
  • Solid Gold Poop: In 2nd Kings chapter 6, the Aramean siege against Samaria would be so great and painful to endure that the people would sell the fourth part of a kab (about 1 cup) of dove's dung for five shekels of silver.
  • Somebody Else's Problem: In 2nd Kings chapter 20, after Merodach-Baladan of Babylon visits King Hezekiah of Judah and the king shows his visitor all his treasures, Isaiah the prophet tells Hezekiah that all his treasures will someday be taken to Babylon and that his descendants will serve the king of Babylon as eunuchs. All Hezekiah could say to that is, "The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good," for the narrative says he was thinking, "At least I will have peace and safety in my days."
  • 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.)
  • Spare to the Throne: King Joash of Judah, the only surviving heir of the Davidic kingdom, was spared from Queen Athaliah's wrath and raised in secrecy until he was old enough to assume the throne with Jehoiada the priest as co-regent.
  • The Starscream: Many of Israel's kings became king after betraying and assassinating the former king, then proceeded to kill off their entire family.
  • Straight for the Commander: In what would be King Ahab's final battle, the king of the Syrians ordered his charioteers to only attack the king of Israel (Ahab). Seeing King Jehoshaphat of Judah on the battlefield in his royal robes, they assumed that he was the king of Israel and went after him, but left him alone after he revealed (or God revealed, according to the 2nd Chronicles account of the same event) that he was not the king of Israel.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted in the case of King Ahab being killed by a stray arrow fired at random.
  • 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.
  • A Taste of the Lash: King Rehoboam, by the bad advice given to him by the men who grew up with him, tells the other tribes of Israel that "my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions," referring to a more painful form of physical punishment (most likely chains) that made whips seem lighter by comparison.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The prophet Elisha encounters a gang of malicious youths who insult his baldness and basically tell him to drop dead. God returns the favor by allowing two she-bears to maul forty-two of them. Bullying a Dragon, indeed. One translation calls these bullies "little children", yet it is far more likely that they were adolescents at youngest.
    • Some of the bad kings rose to power when they were teenagers. One that stands out is Jehoiachin. A copyist's mistake claims that he rose to power at the tender age of eight, but the correct translations verify that he was in fact eighteen when he became king.
  • 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.
  • Top Wife: In 2nd Chronicles 11:21, it says that King Rehoboam of Judah loved Maacah above all the wives and concubines he married (for he had married eighteen wives and had taken sixty concubines), and thus her son Abijah was chosen to be the crown prince that would succeed him as king.
  • 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!
  • Unusual Dysphemism: God uses the term "one who urinates against a wall" in reference to males that are considered worthy of slaughter, particularly of the royal families of evil kings of the northern kingdom of Israel, equating those men to dogs.
  • The Usurper: Queen Athaliah of Judah, who, when her son was dead, decided to kill all his heirs so that she could have the throne to herself. She would be removed from the throne several years later when the heir who was rescued from her, Joash, was rightfully made king.
  • Vorpal Pillow: In 2nd Kings chapter 8, Hazael the servant of King Ben-hadad of Aram smothered his liege to death with a wet cloth on his face so that he would become king in his place.
  • 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.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Or in this case, Worthless White Rocks, as 1st Kings chapter 10 said that King Solomon had so much gold that silver was accounted as nothing during the time of his reign, that it was as common as stones.
  • Written by the Winners:
    • A theory is that this is why Jezebel and her family got such a negative portrayal. As all of them were killed off, there was nobody around to tell their side of the story. Their opponents (who had won in the battle of faiths) were thus able to slander them as much as they wanted to.
    • And as for their kingdom in general: 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. So 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.
  • Yes-Man: King Ahab is surrounded by a bunch of prophets who basically act like this when he asks them whether he and King Jehoshaphat should attack Ramoth Gilead or refrain, with all of them saying, "Go ahead and attack, for the Lord will deliver them into your hand." Micaiah son of Imlah, the only true prophet of the Lord present, tells the king that the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouths of those other prophets in order to get him to fall in the battle.
  • 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


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