One of my goals this year is to read the Bible cover to cover twice. I read The NIV Sola Scriptura Bible (review) in the first half of the year, and the second half I’m reading Immerse: The Reading Bible (review). Obviously, I’ve read both multi-volume series before.
I just finished reading Kingdoms, the third volume in Immerse. (The series begins with Messiah, the New Testament). Kingdoms presents Joshua–2 Kings in canonical order. These biblical books outline the history of the children of Israel from their entrance to the Promised Land to their exile from it. They present a unified story that centers on God’s faithfulness to Israel despite its wavering faith.
Another theme that is very apparent is the establishment of the Davidic monarchy. I have read the Bible several times, but I was struck anew by how these books present a unified story of the rise and fall of the Davidic monarchy. Judges shows the social anarchy that led to Israel’s call for a king. Ruth provides an interlude that focuses on David’s history, which includes his Moabite great-grandmother. 1 Samuel presents the rise of Saul’s house and explains why David replaced him. 2 Samuel details the course of David’s rule and the multiple threats to it. And 1–2 Kings shows the fate of his house after his death.
One more theme that emerges from 1–2 Kings is God’s faithfulness to the Davidic monarchy despite the wavering faithfulness of its successive kings. After Solomon, who began the trend of unfaithfulness, the kingdom divides into the northern kingdom of Israel, led by a succession of non-Davidic dynasties, and Judah, led by David’s descendants. As far as 1–2 Kings is concerned, there are no good Israelite kings, and seemingly few good Judean ones. Nonetheless, out of faithfulness, God keeps David’s dynasty as rulers.
Second Kings ends with Jehoiachin in exile in Babylon, which is bad, obviously, but the last word of the book is one of hope. Evil-merodach ascends the Babylonian throne, releases Jehoiachin from prison, and gives him a place of honor at his royal table. This foreshadows the eventual return of Judean exiles to the Promised Land.
Kingdoms covers the bloodiest episodes in Israel’s history. Much of the Old Testament violence that bewilders readers in found in these episodes. So, caveat lector. What struck me as a reader is that throughout, God demonstrates love and faithfulness to flawed humanity as it exists. That’s good news for us, it seems to me. We are not who we should be, we do not do what we should do, but God doesn’t give up on us.
For more about the six-volume Immerse series, read my review.
Immerse: The Reading Bible, Vol. 3, Kingdoms (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2017).
P.S. If you liked my review, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page.