I Kings/II Kings

1.  The decendents of David, despite their many problems, are at least able to keep their dynasty in power.  None of the kings of Israel are able to do so.  Why?

2.  What are the basic political problems confronting Ahab?  How does he attempt to deal with these problems?  Why does he fail?  Is the second half of 2nd kings properly, "the tragedy of Ahab"?

3.  What are some of the important differences between the second half of I Kings and the first half of the book?  How do you account for these differences?  A different author?  Different sources?

4.  What is the political impact of a man like Elijah?   

5.  What is the relationship between Elisha and Elijah?  Who are these "sons of the prophets" in II Kings 3?  Why would such a group arise?

6.  What is the basic relationship between Israel and its neighbors?  Which nations cooperate with Israel?  Which are most often in opposition?  Why?

7.  How do the prophets interact with the nations surrounding Israel?  Are they in any sense traitors?  Would they be perceived as aiding Israel's enemies?  Consider in particular the story of Naaman the Syrian and Elisha.

8.  What kind of man is Elisha?  What seems to motivate him?  What are his strengths and weaknesses?

9.  What is the role of women in the political affairs of Israel and Judah?  What motivates women like Jezebel and Athaliah?  What does the writer's beliefs seem to be about the proper conduct/role of women in society?

10.  The writer seems to divide the kings of Israel and Judah into two groups, good kings and wicked kings.  Is this a reasonable way to summarize history?  Is it fair to make such overall judgments on a monarch's reign?  Is this what we expect a historian to do?

11.  What is particularly admirable in Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, and Hezekiah, and Josiah?  Why are they able to break with the policies of their predecessors?  Why are they unable to bring about lasting reforms?

12.  Would the author have been better off treating the history of Israel and the history of Judah in separate books?  Does his theme require discussing the two nations separately?

13.  Could first and second kings be appropriately titled "the tragedy of Israel"?