1 and 2 Kings
Publisher Brazos Press
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Commentaries I Would Not Do Without by R. Hansen
Used this for my first major personal study through kings. He does a great job at distilling the meaning of the text and the key points of observation such as irony. Always seems to have a connection to a new testament fulfillment/recapitulation, which is usually very interesting consider I am always looking for it. Rarely did I find his connections to be a stretch. Since this is a theological commentary, there is plenty of discussion about historical theological concepts that he deems relevant to the text. He engages with Aquinas and Calvin a good amount. This usually felt beyond what I was wanting to read about so I found myself skipping. He comments on the Hebrew just enough to teach you something each chapter. No matter what you think about Leithart (Ignore the ignorant 1 star review because of who he associates with) this is a solid commentary.
Leithart worked at Doug Wilson's school and church. Wilson is a radical misogynist who says truly vile things about women. Leithart has never publicly opposed these heinous views. He also runs the Theopolis institute which posts content that degrades women. And he is an anti-vaxxer who spreads misinformation about a disease that's killed millions of people. For a lot of people, this won't matter because you either share his views or you don't think it affects his credibility as a scholar. I simply write this to inform people who would care to know. Personally, I will not use his scholarship because he lacks credibility and I don't want to quote someone who would look down upon half of the people in my congregation because they are women.
I have become a collector of commentaries ever since my seminary days in the 1990s. As such, I am only going to recommend the best overall commentary for each book of the Bible on this site. For 1 & 2 Kings, for the preacher/teacher, I would point you to Leithart. This is neither a technical treatment of Kings nor is it a verse-by-verse treatment, but it is beautiful written and Christ-honoring. I personally consider this to be an enjoyable and engaging read in and of itself. (For a more extensive look at 1 and 2 Kings, albeit sermonic in nature, Philip Graham Ryken has a good two volume set in the Reformed Expository Commentary set that you could also consider adding).
Christ-centered, well-written, unpretentious, and occasionally brilliant, Leithart's theological commentary on 1/2 Kings is a must for pastors, teachers, and students. It is a commentary written from within the Church's tradition to the people of the Church for their benefit.
I've been using this while preaching through 1 Kings. Wonderfully rich and stimulating. Leithart is brilliant at theologically reading the narrative and tracing scriptural trajectories.
Fresh, thought provoking reflections on some of the aspects of Kings. Not a very long book, but definitely packed with treasures.
Peter Leithart's 1 & 2 King's is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the theological underpinnings of these two books. It divides the entire text of both books into sections. While Leithart explores certain themes, he does not treat the books piecemeal the way Pelikan does Acts in the series' first installment. The end result is a more complete, user-friendly commentary. I certainly hope that Leithart's format is used for subsequent volumes in the series. Its greatest strength is its Christological interpretations. The introduction to reading 1 & 2 Kings from a Christian perspective which begins this commentary is excellent, setting the tone for the rest of the book. It doesn't leave readers stranded in the Old Testament era, but helps them better understand what 1 & 2 Kings means in light of Christ by relating each section to the New Testament. This commentary will appeal particularly to Reformed Christians, since it serves as an excellent exercise in redemptive-historical interpretation and covenant theology, which are two mainstays within that tradition. Leithart's excursions into theology, Church history, literature, typology, and even some current trends within the Church today provide excellent guidance for those who struggle with how to preach or teach these sometimes difficult texts. While the Brazos Theological Commentary is ecumenical in its intention, its editors do not force contributors to hide their theological convictions to the point where volumes in the series have no substance, which is very commendable on their part. Leithart's commentary is written unabashedly from a Reformed perspective, discussing doctrinal disagreements with Roman Catholicism in a friendly tone that seeks genuine reconciliation between the two camps rather than division. While primarily theological, this commentary doesn't shy away from exegetical and interpretative insights. Instead, it's chock full of them. My only complaint is that I believe some sections should've been given a more thorough treatment. For example, Leithart's section on 1 Kings 19:1-21 seems a bit oversimplistic for such a hotly-debated chapter among Old Testament scholars. Surely much more theological reflection regarding its significance could have been provided as well. However, the section on 2 Kings 3:1-27, which contains one of the most perplexing episodes in all of Scripture, is incredibly insightful, and well worth the price of the commentary itself, I might add! Unfortunately, introductory topics, such as composition, date, historical background, and authorship, are strangely absent from this volume (and I assume all other existing and forthcoming volumes in the series). I guess this is what the series editors mean when they refer to these commentaries as readings 'in faith.' Scripture has been given to the Church and needs no defense for its veracity. However, I would argue that authorship and historical background frequently provide clues to a particular book's overall theological message. For this reason, I would definitely advise preachers and teachers to supplement this text with an exegetical commentary that provides a more detailed analysis of the text and addresses the aformentioned issues (The 1 & 2 Kings volume by Reformed Baptist, Paul R. House in the New American Commentary would be an excellent choice.). Leithart's comments in a few of the sections are simply too brief. Nevertheless, this is a strong commentary overall and a worthy acquisition for anyone wishing to better understand and apply the Old Testament to today. Since it accomplishes its theological goal on every level, I give it a five-star rating. It will serve preachers and teachers well, providing a goldmine of illustrations for sermons and lectures. If I were teaching an undergraduate course on 1 & 2 Kings, this would definitely be my first choice as the primary textbook. I hope that subsequent volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary are as informative as Leithart's 1 & 2 Kings. Highly recommended!!!!!
This is a supurb commentary. The best I have read on Kings though it should be supplemented with others. This is not a verse by verse commentary though he does go chapter by chapter. He comments on the meaning and significance of each passage and then goes on to talk about an issue of theology contained in the text. Leithart does a great job at following the text and seeing its relationships with other parts of the Bible. He is very good at interpreting narrative. His application is also excellent. There are times where his insights are a little over my head, but for the most part also very understandable. The print is small so this commentary is even longer than it may first appear. This would be my first choice for a Kings commentary followed closely by Fretheim. Though I have not used House's commentary, from this site it seems that he may be a good choice to supplement these two commentaries with a verse by verse commentary that will go more in depth into historical and interpretation issues.
Shepherds Theological Seminary Cary, North Carolina According to the series preface by R. R. Reno at the beginning of this volume, the “central premise” in the Brazos Theological Commentary does not revolve around a set exegetical or historical approach to the Scriptures. Rather, the common denominator “is that doctrine provides structure and cogency to scriptural interpretation” (12). Thus, the goal of the series is to show how an appropriate reading of the Scriptures for the church is guided by the Nicene tradition. Intrigued by the aspirations of the series, I was eager to read the second volume in the series and to observe how a Christian reading of 1 and 2 Kings would be accomplished. In light of the expectations from the preface, Leithart has done an admirable job in presenting such a reading of Kings. I would like to frame my observations around three areas: presentation, hermeneutics, and theological conclusions. After an introduction, which will be discussed below, Leithart breaks 1 and 2 Kings into thirty-nine short chapters each ranging from five to ten pages. He openly recognizes the insufficiency of his comments, recognizing his effort to be “deeply inadequate and incomplete” (13). In order for the reader to avoid a limited view of Kings, he recommends that the commentary be read with the Scriptures in hand and with the assistance of other commentaries. This is welcome advice, because reading Leithart’s work presupposes some exposure to and understanding of the book of Kings. [Full Review]