It is easy to get lost in the list of Kings of Israel and Judah. Therefore, here is an updated list of the kings up to this point in our narrative, including the years that they reigned and whether they were good or evil….
Jeroboam (922-901, evil) Rehoboam (922-915, evil)
Nadab (901-900, evil) Abijam (915-913, evil)
Baasha (900-877, evil) Asa (913-873, good)
Elah (877-876, evil) Jehoshaphat (873-849, good)
Zimri (876, evil) Jehoram (849-842, evil)
Omri (876-869, evil) Ahaziah (842, evil)
Ahab (869-850, evil) Athaliah (842-837, evil)
Joram (849-842, evil) Jehoash (837-800, good)
Jehu (842-815, good & evil) Amaziah (800-783, good & evil)
Lawrence Boadt has this helpful summary of 1 and 2 Kings….
The two Books of Kings tell the story of the period from David’s death to the fall of the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 B. C. before the Babylonians. Thus, in one sense, they can be called the history of David’s dynasty, although the picture they present is much larger. It includes the struggles between the northern kingdom and Judah, the rise and flourishing of prophecy, and a religious judgment on everything that happened during these four centuries.
After devoting the first eleven chapters of 1 Kings to the death of David and the reign of Solomon, the rest of the chapters relate the individual reigns of each king in the north and in the south by means of special formulas which begn and end the account of the king. The dates are carefully recorded and compared to the dates of the king in the other kingdom, so that we can gain a good idea of the actual history of the period from these accounts….
In between the opening and closing formulas, the editors of the Books of Kings would include one or more significant events the king had done. Besides the date of his becoming king, the year of the current king of Judah, and the length of his reign, all the kings are judged on whether they were faithful to Yahweh or not. None of the kings in the north are found pleasing to the Lord. This reflects the judgment of the authors of 1 and 2 Kings, who wrote much later from the perspective of Judah, and interpreted the separation of the northern tribes after Solomon’s death as the beginning of idolatry and rejection of Yahweh and his temple, and the cause of their eventual fall to Assyria….
In all there were twenty southern kings, including one queen-mother, Athaliah, who seized the throne illegally. All are judge by their conduct in light of David’s faithfulness….
The history in the Books of Kings reveals that Judah had a much more stable sense of nationhood. The listing of the queen-mother in each king’s dates shows the importance of naming the important families which intermarried with the royal house, and the place of honor and authority given to women at the government’s highest level. On the other hand, northern Israel had nineteen kings in just about half the amount of time. Northern prophets and tribal leaders were also much harder on the kings. A large number were assassinated, and often the prophets themselves incited war leaders to kill the king and take over. Such was the case with Jehu in the time of Elisha the prophet, and it even accounts for the original choice of Jeroboam himself, who was picked out by a prophet, Ahijah, in 1 Kings 11. Northern Israel rose and fell in just about two hundred years, and most of its life was spent fighting one enemy or another….
And for the Books of Kings, the lesson above all is that infidelity to God’s covenant given through Moses will lead to disaster and destruction. Since the last king named is Zedekiah of Judah, who lived at the time of the final fall of the kingdom and the people’s exile to Babylon in 586 B. C., the book’s viewpoint looks back from that moment of total defeat and loss to find out why God has allowed it to happen. The answer is given that from the first kings down to the very last, both kingdoms failed to uphold the covenant and its commandments….
This stress on the word of God in the Books of Kings reflects the particular outlook of its authors, who also composed the other historical works of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel.