Books Of Kings, one of the chief divisions of the historical series of the canonical Scriptures. In their contents, if not entirely in style and arrangement, they are a continuation of the books of Samuel, as the latter are of that of Judges. The Hebrew Bible originally had only one book of Kings, which in the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and modern Hebrew editions is divided into two. Both versions give the title books of Kings also to the books of Samuel, and thus have four books of Kings. Commencing with the conclusion of the history of David, to which the second book of Samuel and much of the first are devoted, the books of Kings proper relate the history of the Hebrew state under Solomon and Rehoboam, of the divided state under the rival dynasties of Israel and Judah, and of the latter alone, after the captivity of the ten tribes, down to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. They thus cover altogether a period of about 430 years, beginning with about 1015 B. C. Some chapters dwell with special interest on the acts of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Excepting these, the work seems to be an extract from annals of the Hebrew kings, to which reference is frequently made. The name of the author is unknown.

Some suppose him to be identical with the author of Samuel, which others regard as improbable on critical grounds. He was probably a contemporary of Jeremiah, if not that prophet himself. The division of the work into two books is not founded on any intrinsic reasons. Among the best commentaries upon the book are those by Keil (1848; revised ed., 1865), Thenius (1849), and George Rawlinson (in the collection known as the "Speaker's Commentary," 1873).