In the Douay Bible these number four, corresponding to Samuel and Kings in the original Hebrew Bible, according to the nomenclature given in the Talmud: “Our rabbins teach the order of Nebim. is: Joshuah, Judges, Samuel, Kings.” Protestant versions follow the Hebrew, but divide each book into two, as do Jewish Bibles since the 16th century (Bomberg editions). The Clementine Vulgate follows the Septuagint, but substitutes “Kings” for “Kingdoms.” Thus, the nomenclature is as follows:
Original Hebrew Vulgate and Douay:
Samuel – 1 and 2 Kings
Kings – 3 and 4 Kings
Septuagint Protestant Versions
Kingdoms A and B 1 and 2 Samuel
Kingdoms C and D 1 and 2 Kings
“Kings” are the rulers of the united and divided Hebrew kingdom (c.1040-561 B.C.).
1 Kings treats: the life of Samuel, last of the judges; the foundation of the monarchy; and the first king, Saul.
2 Kings treats of the reign of David.
3 Kings treats of the reign of Solomon and the divided kingdom till the departure of Elias.
4 Kings gives us the remainder of the history of Israel till the Assyrian captivity and the history of the kingdom of Juda to the Babylonian captivity.
The books are the works of at least two authors. 1 and 2 Kings mention no sources except the “book of Jashar,” but they probably contain notes from the pens of Samuel, Nathan, and Gad. The present form can not be dated earlier than the divided kingdom (933). If some passages be from a later redactor, it is not improbable that these books are the work of Nathan. 3 and 4 Kings were finally edited after Merodach-Baladan (561-559). As author later tradition assigns Jeremias, which is probable, if a later editor added here and there.