1 & 2 Kings

by Peter J. Leithart


304pp.  $29.99c

Publication Date: October 2006

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Peter J. Leithart (PhD, University of Cambridge) is senior fellow of theology at New Saint Andrews College and serves as the organizing pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of numerous books, including 1 & 2 Kings in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, and a forthcoming commentary on 2 Peter. He is also a contributing editor for Touchstone.


“[Leithart] focuses on the literary elements of the text. . . . Several of his insights are helpful and make his commentary worth consulting for a theologically conservative literary take on 1 and 2 Kings, especially one sensitive to implications for political theology. . . . The [Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible] offers a scholarly defense for figural reading of the Bible. This series provides permission to combine the findings of biblical criticism with the theological riches of the Spirit-led church while maintaining intellectual integrity. One hopes the series will enrich and expand this synergy.”—Stephen J. Lennox, Books & Culture

“Leithart has done an admirable job. . . . While the brevity of his comments has forced him to remain succinct, the profundity of his theological observations does not suffer. . . . Leithart presents a reading that avoids the pitfalls of critical methodologies. For one who reads about and teaches the Old Testament for a living, the book at hand offers a refreshing read. . . . [Leithart’s] ability to make significant observations about parallels within the book of Kings and the Old Testament enhances his discussion about parallels with the New Testament. . . . He is particularly adept at recognizing parallels, wordplays, and literary devices that bring out the meaning of the text. . . . Leithart’s theological conclusions about the book of Kings are diverse and interesting. He demonstrates a breadth of reading and knowledge of theological matters and brings that knowledge to bear upon the book of Kings. . . . For the biblical scholar, this volume is a fitting reminder that the text should be read holistically and theologically. . . . The book causes the reader to think profoundly about the ultimate message(s) of the text. For the pastor, Leithart’s commentary will provide a succinct summary of each chapter or section that is most helpful in preaching through the book. For the theologian, Leithart has shown how even the book of Kings makes weighty theological statements based upon a text-imminent, Christian reading of the book. Moreover, for all, it is a delightful read.”—Randall L. McKinion, Review of Biblical Literature

“Commentaries written by theologians, though plentiful in the history of Christianity, are at present rare, making Peter Leithart’s recent work on 1–2 Kings distinctively refreshing. . . . In an easily accessible style, Leithart interweaves an entertaining rehearsal of the biblical story while expanding on themes that relate to Christian theology and practice. . . . Both content and structure contribute to the value of the commentary for sermon-preparation and lay use. Chief among the distinguishing features of Leithart’s work is the way he travels from the text to multiple disciplines that benefit from the narrative theology described therein. The breadth of his expertise is displayed in his interaction with political theory; metaphysics; historical theology; anthropology; sociology; literary criticism; and philosophy from ancient to postmodern times. . . . [Leithart’s] aspiration of bringing the OT to the church as an ongoing source of revelation is refreshing. In a discipline felt by many to have become increasingly distant from the church, theology, and even exegesis, biblical studies is in need of ‘reform.’ Like Elijah, Leithart is attempting to address the problem from within, rather than casting aspersions from a distance. For this, as well as for his engaging style and challenging observations, his contribution is welcome.”—Amber Warhurst, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

“The [Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible] seeks to rescue the Bible from the hypercritical and hyperspecialized world of contemporary Biblical studies, at least as it is practiced in the academy. Its ecumenical lineup includes Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox contributors. . . . The refreshing result is a respect for the tradition of the church in an age when exegesis often competes with or denigrates theology. Leithart’s contribution will be especially welcome . . . for its sensitivity to redemptive history. . . . Leithart’s careful treatment of typology in the narratives of Israel’s kings lives up to the high standard that he has established.”—John Muether, Ordained Servant

“Leithart will certainly provide you with food for thought. . . . You will encounter useful ideas to provoke you in your sermon prep. This intriguing new series will incorporate contributions from a broad spectrum of theological traditions. You will want to keep your eye on the Brazos commentaries.”—Semper Reformanda

“This commentary series offers us the hope and promise of Christian theologians (all of them men and women of the church) joining their scholarship with their faith in a way that brings back the ancient, venerable tradition of theologians engaging the text of canonical Scripture. . . . Leithart is fully conversant with modern Biblical scholarship, even if he is not as concerned to recount it. He does, however, make good use of rhetorical criticism—how the structure and form of the text itself work to make its point. . . . Leithart’s commentary is a refreshing read and eminently usable by the preacher who, in preaching the Old Testament, wants to point out that the person and work of Jesus Christ are already present in the Old Testament, if in a discreet and hidden way. . . . Leithart has given the Brazos Theological Commentary series a high standard to match. If those whose works are to follow can give us similar quality, then this series will prove to be an invaluable tool to the preacher and teacher.”—Walter Taylor, Layman

“[This] series aims to produce a new corpus of theological commentary on scripture. If the other volumes in this series compare favorably with Leithart’s work on Kings, they will have produced a stellar achievement indeed! . . . [Leithart] provides models and case studies . . . throughout his commentary that should prove useful to the constructive end of reading the bible with narrative and confessional integrity. . . . Many readers will find it intriguing to learn how Leithart sees the text of Kings as they interact with Luther, Calvin, and the Protestant Reformation at many points. . . . [The work is] ideally suited as a companion text for the preacher or Bible teacher working through these books systematically. . . . The reading involved is not overly technical so that it could be of use to serious church members as well as Hebraists. Given the lack of systematic Old Testament teaching in the church, hopefully Leithart’s work will inspire many to grapple with these books instead of skimming through them in the future.  Leithart’s style is warm hearted and devotional; this work could even be used by the pastor wanting to challenge, inform, and feed his own soul . . . not just as grist for the sermon mill.”—Chuck Huckaby, biblestorytelling.blogspot.com

“[Leithart’s] introduction ‘1–2 Kings as Gospel’ is well worth reading and will be a great help in preparing to preach through these books which are not often chosen for expository series. This commentary will be a great supplement to other tools when preaching in 1–2 Kings.”—Preaching

“With a PhD from Cambridge and extensive pastoral experience at Trinity Reformed Church in Idaho, Leithart made me feel like I was enjoying the best of academic scholarship, linguistic analysis, literary insights, historical reflections, and thoughtful applications to contemporary Christian discipleship. 1 & 2 Kings begins with Solomon’s ascension to power and ends with Judah’s banishment to Babylon, which means that Leithart makes a panoramic sweep of roughly 400 years of salvation history in Israel.”—Daniel B. Clendenin, journeywithjesus.net

“The [Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible] bills itself correctly as a different kind of commentary. . . . This work should prove helpful for Christian preachers as they think about the theological possibilities within the text.”—Tyler Mayfield, Religious Studies Review

“Leithart does an eminently satisfying work of exposition, although his work engages age-old questions of exegetical method. . . . His bibliography reflects his engagement with biblical and theological scholarship spanning the pre-, modern, and postmodern eras. . . . Theologically rich discussions are threaded throughout the commentary. . . . This reviewer found Leithart’s work stimulating in its unabashedly theological interpretive stance. Such a starting point for the exegetical task inquires differently of the text and renders fresh applications and observations. The two disciplines of biblical and theological studies can only benefit from cross-disciplinary engagement and, certainly, Leithart demonstrates that both disciplines can be used critically and in service of the Church.”—Lissa M. Wray Beal, Toronto Journal of Theology

“This book is a welcome addition to the body of commentary literature that expounds the book of Kings for the reader who wishes to see how its ‘theology’ is truly connected to the fuller mosaic of biblical revelation and the ‘rule of truth’ that Irenaeus articulated in his context in the early Christian church. . . . [Leithart’s] content and writing style are both engaging and stimulating. Preachers will learn a great deal about the literary artistry of Kings and will likely pick up many suggestive sermonic and teaching points in this work. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography as well as a subject index and Scripture index, all of which is helpful for further reading on the many points Leithart touches on.”—Mark D. Vander Hart, Mid-America Journal of Theology

“This commentary is both fascinating and very easy to read. One need not entirely share Leithart’s Reformed perspective to get a great deal out of it. It is highly recommended as a resource for pastors and laypersons alike.”—Jack Kilcrease, Logia