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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 16

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,

Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu. This is the only incident recorded in the life of this prophet. His father was also a prophet (2 Chronicles 16:7).

Verse 2

Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;

Forasmuch as I exalted thee. The doom he pronounced on Baasha was exactly the same as denounced against Jeroboam and his posterity. Though he had waded through slaughter to his throne, he owed his elevation to the appointment or permission of Him "by whom kings reign."

Over my people Israel. With all their errors and lapses into idolatry, they were not wholly abandoned by God. He still showed His interest in them, by seeding prophets and working miracles in their favour, and possessed a multitude of faithful worshippers in the kingdom of Israel.

Verses 3-6

Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 7

And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of the LORD against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him.

Also by the hand of the prophet Jehu. This is not another prophecy, but merely an addition by the sacred historian, explanatory of the death of Bussha and the extinction of his family. The doom pronounced against Jeroboam, 1 Kings 14:9, did not entitle him to take the execution of the sentence into his own hands; but from his following the same calf-worship he had evidently plotted the conspiracy and murder of that king, in furtherance of his own ambitious designs, and hence, in his own assassination, he met the just reward of his deeds. The similitude to Jeroboam extends to their deaths as well as their lives, the reign of their sons, and the ruin of their families.

Verse 8

In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.

Began Elah the son of Baasha to reign - (cf. 1 Kings 15:33.) From this it will appear that Baasba died in the 23rd year of his reign (see the notes at 1 Kings 15:2); and Elah who was a prince of dissolute habits, reigned not fully two years.

Verse 9

And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.

Zimri ... conspired against him. During a carousal in the house of his chamberlain, Zimri slew him, and having seized the sovereignty, endeavoured to consolidate his throne by the massacre of all the royal race.

The news of his conspiracy soon spread; and the army having proclaimed their general, Omri, king, that officer immediately raised the siege at Gibbethon, and marched directly against the capital, in which the usurper had established himself. Zimri soon saw that he was not in circumstances to hold out against the whole forces of the kingdom; so shutting himself up in the palace, be set it on fire, and, like Sardanapalus, chose to perish himself, and reduce all to ruins, rather than that the palace and royal treasures should fall into the hands of his successful rival. The seven days' reign may refer either to the brief duration of his royal authority, or the period in which he enjoyed unmolested tranquillity in the palace.

Verses 10-17

And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 18

And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died,

The palace of the king's house, [ 'armown (H759) beeyt (H1004) hamelek (H4428)] - the fortress of the kings house; not the harem, as J.D. Michaelis, Ewald, and others suppose, but the central, which was the highest and strongest, part, the citadel, of the building (Proverbs 18:19). [The Septuagint has: eis antron, into a cave.]

Verse 19

For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.

For his sins which he sinned. This violent end was a just retribution for his, crimes. 'His walking in the ways of Jeroboam' might have been manifested either by the previous course of his life, or by his decrees published on his ascension, when he made a strong effort to gain popularity by announcing his continued support of the calf-worship.

Verse 20

Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 21

Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.

Then were the people ... divided into two parts - i:e., the people principally, it may be presumed, of Tirzah, who supported Tibni, while Omri had the army on his side. The factions that ensued occasioned a four years' duration (cf. 1 Kings 16:15 with 1 Kings 16:23) of anarchy or civil war. Whatever might be the public opinion of Omri's merits, a large body of the people disapproved of the mode of his election, and declared for Tibni. The army, however, as usual in such circumstances (and they had the will of Providence favouring them), prevailed over all opposition, and Omri became undisputed possessor of the throne.

Verse 22

But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.

Tibni died. The Hebrew does not enable us to determine whether his death was violent or natural. [The Septuagint adds a clause which implies that Tibni was reinforced by the influential aid of a brother-kai apethane Thabni kai Iooram ho adelfos autou en too kairoo ekeinoo, Tibni and his brother Joram died at that time.]

Verse 23

In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.

In the thirty and first year of Asa ... began Omri to reign [ `Aamªriy (H6018); i:e., perhaps, 'aamªriyaah, servant of Yahweh; Septuagint, Ambri]. The twelve years of his rule are computed from the beginning of his reign, which was in the 27th year of Asa's royalty. He held a contest for supremacy four years with Tibni; and then, at the dates stated in this verse, entered on a sole and peaceful reign of eight years.

Verse 24

And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.

He bought the hill Samaria of Shemer, [ haahaar (H2022) Shomªrown (H8111) the mountain Shomeron (watch-post); Chaldee, Shomªrayin, whence came the Greek Samaria; Septuagint, to oros to Semeroon]. The palace of Tirzah being in ruins, Omri, in selecting the site of his royal residence was naturally influenced by considerations both of pleasure and advantage. In the center of a wide amphitheater of mountains, about six miles from Shechem, rises an oblong hill, with steep yet accessible sides and a long flat top, extending east and west, and rising 500 or 600 feet above the valley. What Omri in all probability built as a mere palatial residence became the capital of the kingdom, instead of Shechem. It was as though Versailles had taken the place of Paris, or Windsor of London. The choice of Omri was admirable, in selecting a position which combined, in a union not elsewhere-certainly not in Jerusalem-found in Palestine, strength, beauty, and fertility (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 15:, ch. 8:, sec. 5; 'Jewish Wars,' b. 1:, ch. 21:, sec. 2; Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 3: p. 138-149; Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 240-242). It was called by Herod, in honour of Augustus, Sebaste, the Greek translation of Augusta, now Sebustieh.

Two talents of silver - 684 pounds sterling. Shemer had probably made it a condition of the sale, that the name should be retained. But as city and palace were built there by Omri, it was in accordance with Eastern custom to call it after the founder. The Assyrians did so; and on a tablet dug out of the ruins of Nineveh an inscription was found relating to Samaria, which is called Beth-khumri-the house of Omri (Layard, 'Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 613; see the notes at 2 Kings 17:5).

Verse 25

But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.

But Omri wrought evil. The character of Omri's reign, and his death, are described in the stereo-typed form used toward all the successors of Jeroboam, in respect both to policy as well as time.

Verses 26-29

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. No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 30

And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.

Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. The worship of God by symbols had hitherto been the offensive form of apostasy in Israel; but now gross idolatry is openly patronized by the court. This was done through the influence of the bigoted and blood-thirsty Jezebel Ahab's queen. She was "the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians." He was priest of Ashtaroth, or Astarte, who, having murdered Philetes, king of Tyre, ascended the throne of that kingdom, being the eighth king since Hiram. Jezebel was the worthy daughter of this regicide and idol priest; and, on her marriage with Ahab, never rested until she had gotten all the forms of her native Tyrian worship introduced into her adopted country. The name of this furious idolatress and wicked woman is used as the type of a corrupt influence and mischievous teaching (Revelation 2:24).

Verse 31

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 32

And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.

Reared up an altar for Baal - i:e., the sun, worshipped under various images. Ahab set up one (2 Kings 3:2), probably as the Tyrian Hercules, in the temple in Samaria. No human sacrifices were offered; the fire was kept constantly burning; the priests officiated barefoot; dancing and kissing the image (1 Kings 19:18) were among the principal rites.

Verse 33

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 34

In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.

In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho - (see the note at Joshua 6:26.) The curse took effect on the family of this reckless man; but whether his oldest son died at the time of laying the foundation, and the youngest at the completion of the work; or whether he lost all his sons in rapid succession, until, at the end of the undertaking, he found himself childless, the poetical form of the ban does not enable us to determine. Some modern commentators think there is no reference either to the natural or violent deaths of Hiel's sons; that he began in presence of his oldest son; but some unexpected difficulties losses, or obstacles, delayed the completion until his old age, when the gates were set up in the presence of his youngest son. But the curse was fulfilled more than 500 years after it was uttered; and from Jericho being inhabited after Joshua's time (Judges 3:13; 2 Samuel 10:5), it has been supposed that the act against which the curse was directed was an attempt at the restoration of the walls-the very walls which had been miraculously cast down. It seems to have lain within the territory of Israel; and the unresisted act of Hiel affords a painful evidence how far the people of Israel had lost all knowledge of, or respect for, the word of God.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-kings-16.html. 1871-8.
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