The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

1 Kings 16

1Ki 16:1

1Ki 16: "The terrible apostasy of the northern nation is revealed in the history recorded of the house of Jeroboam. Intrigue and wickedness permeate the whole scene, and bring the wisdom of Yahweh into disrepute: [1] Jehu the prophet pronounces doom against the House of Baal: vv 1-4. [2] The Death of Baasha: vv 5-7. [3] Elah the drunkard is murdered by his servant Zimri: vv 8-10. [4] Zimri's seven days' reign of terror: vv 11-14. [5] The army revolts against Zimri. It champions the cause of Omri: vv 15-20. [6] Zimri commits suicide: vv 18-20. [7] Tibni challenges Omri: vv 21,22. [8] Omri: prince of evil men: vv 23-28. [9] Ahab's vile reign (1Ki 16-22). & Notice the constant reference to the wickedness of the leaders of the nation: vv 2,13,19,26,30. The ch concludes with disaster at Jericho, and reflects on the circumstances that involved Joshua at the beginning of the nation's occupation in the Land. A grim warning is given that the word of Yahweh should be heeded. The forgotten curse on Jericho claimed its victims, but in what way is not revealed" (GEM).

1Ki 16: "Next [in the line of Israel's kings] came Elah, a drunkard, who in turn was a murderer (1Ki 16:8,9). His successor, Zimri, was guilty of 'treason' (1Ki 16:20). He was followed by a military adventurer of the name of Omri, and of him we are told, 'but Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities' (1Ki 16:25,26).

"The evil cycle was completed by Omri's son, for he was even more vile than those who had preceded him. 'And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him' (1Ki 16:30,31).

"This marriage of Ahab to a heathen princess was, as might fully be expected (for we cannot trample God's Law beneath our feet with impunity), fraught with the most frightful consequences. In a short time all trace of the pure worship of Jehovah vanished from the land and gross idolatry became rampant. The golden calves were worshipped at Dan and Bethel, a temple had been erected to Baal in Samaria, the 'groves' of Baal appeared on every side, and the priests of Baal took full charge of the religious life of Israel.

"It was openly declared that Baal lived and that Jehovah ceased to be. What a shocking state of things had come to pass is clear from, 'And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him' (1Ki 16:33).

"Defiance of the Lord God and blatant wickedness had now reached their culminating point. This is made still further evident by, 'in his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho' (v 34). Awful effrontery was this, for of old it had been recorded, 'Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn and in his youngest son shall be set up the gates of it' (Josh 6:26). The rebuilding of the accursed Jericho was open defiance of God. Now it was in the midst of this spiritual darkness and degradation that there appeared on the stage of public action, with dramatic suddenness, a solitary but striking witness to and for the living God" (Pink).

1Ki 16:23

THE THIRTY-FIRST YEAR: Cp vv 10,15: the first 5 years (Asa's 27th through 31st) Omni was engaged in civil war with Tibni (v 21).

1Ki 16:31

Ahab seeks friendly alliance with Zidon by marrying daughter of king.

JEZEBEL: "She dwell not" (ie, with Yahweh). Those who follow other gods, or teach other gospel, are not my "spouse", says Yahweh. Cp Rev 2:20n.

ETHBAAL: A "king" and a "priest", per Josephus.

1Ki 16:32

HE SET UP AN ALTAR FOR BAAL: Baal worship implemented as state religion. The catalyst to an organized, state-wide persecution of worshipers of Yahweh (1Ki 18:4; 2Ki 9:7).

1Ki 16:33

ASHERAH: See Lesson, Asherah.

Previous Index Next