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In the Bible, the First and Second Books of Kings cover the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah from Solomon in 970 B.C.E. to the destruction of Judah by Babylonia in 586 B.C.E. Beginning with the last days of King David, one dramatic story follows another. After Solomon’s brilliant reign and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, war split the country into two separate kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south.

The story of the Kingdom of Israel spanning the years between 993-721 B.C.E. follows. Throughout his life the prophet Elijah battled against Israel’s idol worship; the prophet Elisha who followed him continued this struggle. In its nearly three centuries of existence, the northern kingdom never managed to rid itself of idol worship. After describing the fall of the northern kingdom, the Book of Kings continues with the southern Kingdom of Judah whose capital was Jerusalem and whose center of worship was the Temple. Great prophets came to Judah, taught its people, and prepared and strengthened them for the time of their defeat and exile in 586 B.C.E.

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