To essay a commentary on Kings of comparable bulk and scope twelve years after J. A. Montgomery's ICC volume demands a certain apology. Ours is primarily that this work was undertaken at the instance of the editors of the Old Testament Library series promoted by the SCM Press. Moreover, in view of the rapid accumulation of fresh archaeological evidence and the reassessment of former data, the late Professor Montgomery would have been the first to admit the need for a fresh commentary, especially since he himself did not live to revise his work. Inevitably the present work repeats much from earlier commentaries, especially from one so recent as Montgomery's, and particularly from his permanently valuable discussion of the text. The influence of the older German commentaries of Eissfeldt (1922-3), Kittel (1900) and Benzinger (1899), and of the great Czech scholar Sanda (1911-12) will also be apparent. The commentary of Gressmann (1921) has proved of great value, with its many insights into the ancient East and particularly its masterly form-critical analysis, as have the insights of Klostermann (1887) on the text. The recent commentary of A. van den Born has also been a valuable guide to the writer in planning the presentation of his work in just perspective.
Our days have seen remarkable advances in archaeology with the consequent reopening of many problems in Old Testament scholarship. Of these the Qumran discoveries, sensational and significant as they are, are the least significant for the subject-matter of the Old Testament. They are, of course, a tremendous acquisition to textual criticism, though in Kings with the exception of II Kings 18-20, which is largely paralleled in Isaiah 36-39, their value is so far limited. Evidence of a third-century Hebrew text of Samuel supporting the LXX against the MT, however, obliges us to reckon seriously with LXX variants, and ancient confirmation of variants in the Lucianic recension of the LXX oblige us to deal circumspectly with these in spite of their admitted tendency to smooth out difficulties which have hitherto made them suspect as secondary and unsupported by any Hebrew original. Bearing more particularly on the subject-matter of the Old Testament is the abundance of new material from the various archaeological sites throughout the Near East, from the palaces of Atchana and Mari and from the apparently inexhaustible site of the palace and city of Ras Shamra. In Palestine there has been just over a decade of most intensive activity by Jewish archaeologists of great name and number with the backing of all departments of an exceptionally enlightened government. The work of Professor Yadin at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer and of Benno Rothenberg and his team of technical experts in the Araba alone compels a revision of former conclusions on the details of the reign of Solomon. The joint excavation of the French and British Schools of Archaeology in Jerusalem under Père de Vaux and Miss K. M. Kenyon on the south-east and south-west hills of ancient Jerusalem in the . . .