1 Kings 16


Baasha’s Reign in Israel (15:33-16:7) Continued

    • The word of Yahweh came to Hanani’s son, Jehu, against Baasha saying, “Since I raised you up from the dust to rule over My people Israel, but you have followed Jeroboam’s ways, causing My people Israel to sin and provoking Me to anger with their sins, therefore, I will wipe out Baasha and his house and I will make your house like the house of Nebat’s son Jeroboam: dogs will eat the members of Baasha’s family who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the open country.”

      • Guzik writes, “1 Kings 15:27 tells us that Baasha was head of a conspiracy to kill Nadab, the son of Jeroboam. It tells us nothing of God’s hand with Baasha, but here we learn that behind-the-scenes God moved even through the conspiracy of Baasha against Nadab.”

    • The rest of the events of Baasha’s reign, including his accomplishments and successes, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Baasha rested with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah. His son Elah succeeded him as king. The word of Yahweh came against Baasha and his family through the prophet Jehu, who was Hanani’s son. This was because of all the evil he had done in Yahweh’s eyes- for provoking His anger with his deeds and becoming like Jeroboam’s family, and because he destroyed Jeroboam’s family.

      • It’s interesting that verse 7 seems to indicate that God judges Baasha for doing something that He Himself raised him up to do (wiping out Jeroboam’s family). This would be a prime example of a Calvinist proof text. However, the Calvinist approach isn’t the only way to view this. Guzik gives the following explanation, “In 1 Kings 16:2 God said that He lifted Baasha out of the dust and set him as ruler over Israel. In doing this, God used Baasha to bring judgment upon the house of Jeroboam; yet God did not cause Baasha to do this, so He rightly judged Baasha, even though God used the wickedness of Baasha in bringing judgment upon Jeroboam. God did not need to coerce a reluctant Baasha to conspire against and assassinate Nadab the son of Jeroboam. That wicked desire was already in the heart of Baasha. In using Baasha to bring judgment on the house of Jeroboam, God only needed to let Baasha do what he wanted to do. Therefore, it was proper of God to judge Baasha for something that ultimately furthered God’s eternal plan.”

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds, “Jeroboam I is probably to be credited with moving the capital of the northern kingdom from Shechem about 3 miles north to Tirzah (Tell el-Farah North), where it remained for 40 years. Tirzah is located 35 miles north of Jerusalem in the mountains of Manasseh. During the reigns of Baasha and his successors, Tirzah underwent an urban renewal…Tirzah remained the capital of Israel for the first six years of Omri’s reign, after which he moved it to Samaria (see 16:24).”

Elah’s Reign in Israel (16:8-14)

    • In the 26th year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Baasha’s son Elah became king over Israel in Tirzah. He reigned for 2 years. His servant Zimri, who was the commander over half of his chariots, conspired against him. While Elah was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk at Arza’s house (Arza was the supervisor of the household in Tirzah), Zimri came in and struck him dead. This happened in the 27th year of Asa’s reign over Judah. Then Zimri replaced Elah as king.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Elah’s drunkenness at Tirzah while his army risked their lives at the Philistine-controlled city of Gibbethon (16:15) displayed his debased character; he was even less fit to reign than his father, Baasha (see 16:13).”

      • HCSB notes, “The ‘twenty-sixth year’ of Asa’s reign was 886 BC. Elah reigned two years until 885 BC. Asa’s twenty-seventh year was 885 BC.”

    • When he became king, as soon as he was seated on the throne, he killed Baasha’s entire family. He didn’t leave a single male, whether relative or friend. Zimri destroyed Baasha’s entire family in accordance with the word of Yahweh, which He had spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu. This happened because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah committed and caused Israel to commit- provoking the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel, with their idols.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Zimri’s execution of all the family…relatives and friends…of Baasha was swift and merciless. While Zimri carried out the Lord’s sentence against the dynasty of Baasha, he doubtless did so for selfish reasons: to keep them from taking revenge on him or using their power or influence to organize their own coup.”

    • The rest of the events of Elah’s reign, including all his accomplishments, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.”

The Era of Israel’s Third Dynasty (16:15-22:53)

Zimri’s Reign in Israel (16:15-20)

    • In the 27th year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Zimri became king over Israel in Tirzah. He reined for 7 days. Zimri’s revolt took place while the army was encamped against the Philistine city of Gibbethon. The troops who were camped there received the following report: “Zimri has conspired against the king and assassinated him.” So all of Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day in the camp. Then Omri and all of the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and besieged Tirzah. When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he went into the citadel of the king’s house, set the royal house on fire around himself and died. This happened because of the sins he committed, doing what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes, following in Jeroboam’s ways and committing the same sin Jeroboam committed, causing Israel to sin.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Although Zimri commanded half the royal chariots…he was in Tirzah rather than with the army…attacking…Gibbethon. He apparently did not have the respect of the armed forces; they saw his act as treason and chose their commander Omri as the new king of Israel…Zimri’s cowardice is evident in his suicide in the face of capture.”

    • The rest of the events of Zimri’s reign, including the conspiracy that he carried out, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.”

Omri’s Reign in Israel (16:21-28)

    • Now the people of Israel were divided into two factions: half the people supported Ginath’s son Tibni and wanted to make him king, the other half supported Omri. But the people who supported Omri overcame the people who supported Ginath’s son Tibni. Tibni died and Omri became king.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Tibni is mentioned only here, and Ginath is unknown. According to the Greek OT, Tibni received help in his failed bid for power from his brother Joram, and both were killed in the confrontation with Omri.”

    • In the 31st year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Omri became king over Israel. He reigned 12 years, 6 of them in Tirzah. Then he purchased the hill of Samaria from Shemer for 150 pounds of silver. He fortified the hill and named the city that he built Samaria, after the former owner of the hill.

      • Guzik cites Clarke’s clarification, “The division of the kingdom between Tibni and Omri began in the twenty-seventh year of Asa; this division lasted five years, during which Omri, had but a share of the kingdom. Tibni dying, Omri came into the possession of the whole kingdom, which he held seven years; this was in the thirty-first year of Asa.”

      • HCSB elaborates, “Tibni reigned six years, 885-880 BC., overlapping with Omri’s reign by two years…Asa’s ‘thirty-first year’ was 880 BC.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Omri… reigned twelve years in all: Omri’s son Ahab succeeded him in the seventh year of his reign (cp 16:29), so Omri’s twelve-year rule likely includes about four years of co-regency with Ahab.”

      • ESV Study Bible notes, “The only recorded events of Omri’s reign are the purchase of the hill of Samaria and the building of a new northern capital on it. The authors of 1-2 Kings did not consider anything else of any great importance, even though Omri’s house held the throne for over 100 years in the northern kingdom and in due course became so identified with his dynasty that even after the Omride period if could be referred to in Assyrian records as ‘the land of Omri.’ This suggests that Omri was a more substantial international figure than could be deduced simply from 1 Kings. Archaeologists have determined that the city of Samaria was inhabited from the time of Omri (c. 886-875 BC) til it was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722.”

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds this information, “He [Omri] moved the capital from Tirzah to a prominent hill strategically located near major highways in a fertile region known for its grape orchards and olive groves. He renamed the site Samaria, and together with his son Ahab built an impressive royal palace on the acropolis there…Omri is one of only a few Israelite kings mentioned in extrabiblical sources. He is noted in the Mesha Stela for his 40-year occupation of Moab during the reign of Mesha’s father, Kemosh-yatti. Decades later, Omri’s distant successor Jehu is referred to on the Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC) as ‘son (dynastic successor) of Omri.’”

    • Omri did what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes- more evil than all those who came before him. He followed in all the ways of Nebat’s son Jeroboam and in the sin that he caused Israel to sin, provoking Yahweh, the God of Israel, to anger with their idols. The rest of the events of Omri’s reign, including his accomplishments and successes, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab succeeded him as king.

Ahab’s Reign in Israel (16:29-22:40)

Ahab’s Accession

      • In the 38th year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Omri’s son Ahab became king over Israel. Ahab reigned over Israel in Samaria for 22 years. Omri’s son Ahab did what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes- more so than all who came before him. As if following in the sinful ways of Nebat’s son Jeroboam were a trivial matter, he married Jezebel- the daughter of the Sidonian king Ethbaal. Then he served and worshiped Baal. He set up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. He also made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel, than all the kings of Israel who preceded him.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “Ahab, the son of Omri, was king of Israel from 874 to 853 BC…”

        • On Jezebel, the same source continues, “…the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. Ethbaal (or Ittobaal, meaning ‘Baal is alive’) was king and priest of Tyre and Phoenicia from 32 years, from 878 to 846 BC. According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, he was priest of the goddess Astarte, the Phoenician mother goddess and queen of heaven, and Melqart, god of war. The name of his infamous daughter Jezebel (yzbl) may appear on a large seal (1.25 inch) decorated with Egyptian motifs popular in Phoenician art and iconography at the time. The first letter is missing, but it could have been engraved at the top of the seal, which is no longer extant. The seal was dated to the ninth century based on paleography…The term asherah appears 40 times in the OT. Most of its occurrences refer to some kind of man-made object, perhaps a wooden symbol or statue, that was constructed, set up, served, cut down, chopped, hewn, burned, crushed, beaten, or removed. Deuteronomy 16:21, in which Israel was prohibited from planting any type of tree as an asherah, indicates the term could also refer to a living tree.”

      • During Ahab’s reign Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of the life of Abiram, his first-born son, and he erected its gates at the cost of the life of Segub, his youngest son, according to the word of Yahweh, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible explains, “Despite Joshua’s curse against Jericho (Josh 6:26-27), the site was occasionally and temporarily occupied prior to being rebuilt by Hiel (see Judg 3:13; 2 Sam 10:5; 1 Chr 19:5), as archaeological excavations confirm. Hiel’s efforts signify the spiritual defection of Israel. The Targum (an interpretive Aramaic translation for Jews who did not know Hebrew after the Exile) suggests that Hiel sacrificed his sons as foundation offerings according to pagan practices; others understand the deaths to be from disease or accident…”

        • ESV Study Bible remarks, “…Although the text does not say specifically how the two sons of Hiel died, it is possible that he offered them in sacrifice, or that they died as a special judgment from God, in fulfillment of Joshua’s curse…”

Image via NLT Illustrated Study Bible p. 658

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