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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 16

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Jehu prophesieth against Baasha, 1 Kings 16:1-7,

Elah succeedeth him: him Zimri slayeth and succeedeth: he, besieged by Omri, burneth himself, 1 Kings 16:8-20.

Omri prevaileth against Tibni, and is king; buildeth Samaria; followeth the sins of Jeroboam, and dieth, 1 Kings 16:21-28.

Ahab his son succeedeth him: he is more wicked than his predecessors, 1 Kings 16:29-33.

Hiel buildeth Jericho; and Joshua’s curse is fulfilled in him, 1 Kings 16:34.

Verse 1

Jehu, a prophet, of whom see more 2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 20:34. Hanani also was a prophet, 2 Chronicles 16:7.

Verse 2

Out of the dust; out of a low and mean estate. See 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalms 113:7.

Quest: How is Baasha’s exaltation to the kingdom ascribed to God, when he got it by treachery and cruelty? Answ. Though that way or manner of invading the kingdom was from himself, and his own wicked heart; yet the translation of the kingdom from Nadab to Baasha, simply considered, was from God, who by his decree and providence ordered it, and disposed of all occasions, and of the hearts of all the soldiers and people, so that Baasha should have opportunity of executing God’s judgment upon Nadab; and such success thereupon, that he should get a present and quiet possession of the kingdom. Nay, the very act of Baasha, to wit, the killing of his master Nadab, was an act of Divine justice, foretold and appointed by God, 1 Kings 14:10. And if Baasha had done this in obedience to God’s command, and with a single design to execute God’s vengeance threatened against him, it had been no more a sin than Jehu’s act in killing his master king Jehoram, upon the same account, 2 Kings 9:0. But that Baasha did this merely to gratify his own pride, or covetousness, or malice, this was not from God, but from himself, and therefore is charged upon him as murder here, 1 Kings 16:7.

To provoke me to anger: See Poole "1 Kings 14:9".

Verse 7

By the hand of the prophet Jehu came the word of the Lord: the meaning is, the message which came from the Lord to Jehu, 1 Kings 16:1, &c., was here delivered by the hand, i.e. the ministry, of Jehu, unto Baasha. Jehu did what God commanded him in this matter, though it was not without apparent hazard to himself.

And because he killed him, i.e. Nadab; who, though he be not expressed, yet is sufficiently understood:

1. By the manifest reference which these words have to the murder committed by Baasha, which was done upon Nadab only, 1 Kings 15:28.

2. By the foregoing words,

the house of Jeroboam, i.e. his posterity, which was Nadab.

Quest. Why doth God punish him for doing God’s work?

Answ. 1. Though God appointed that Jeroboam’s family should be cut off, yet he did not give Baasha commission to do it, nor had declared how or by whom he would do it.

2. Baasha did this not to fulfil God’s will, but his own lusts. See Poole "1 Kings 16:2".

Verse 8

One complete, and part of the other, 1 Kings 16:10, which in Scripture account is reckoned for a year. See Poole "1 Kings 15:25".

Verse 9

Captain of half his chariots, i.e. of all his military chariots, and the men belonging to them; the chariots for carriage of necessary things being put into other and meaner hands.

As he was in Tirzah; whilst his forces were elsewhere employed, 1 Kings 16:15, which gave Zimri advantage to execute his design.

Verse 11

Kinsfolks, Heb. avengers; to whom it belonged to revenge his death: see Numbers 35:12.

Nor of his friends; his confidants and familiar acquaintance, such as were most likely to hinder his settlement in the throne, and to avenge their friend’s quarrel.

Verse 12

i. e. Thus fulfilling God’s threatening, but either without his knowledge, or merely for his own ends.

Verse 13

i.e. Idols, oft called vanities, as Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Samuel 12:21; Jeremiah 14:22, because they are but imaginary deities, and mere nothings, 1 Corinthians 8:4, having nothing at all of a God in them, and nothing of power to do either good or hurt.

Verse 15

Which had been besieged before, 1 Kings 15:27, but, it seems, was then relieved, or afterwards recovered by the Philistines, taking the advantage of the disorders and contentions which were among their enemies.

Verse 18

Burnt the king’s house over him; or, and he burnt, &c. Either,

1. Omri burnt it over Zimri; for pronouns sometimes respect more remote nouns. Or rather,

2. Zimri, (to whom both the foregoing and following words apparently belong,) who burnt it upon himself, that neither himself nor the royal palace and treasures might come into the hands of his insulting adversary.

Verse 19

For his sins, i.e. this befell him for his sins.

Walking in the way of Jeroboam; which he might do, either before his reign, in the whole course of his life, which is justly charged upon him, because of his impenitency; or in the seven days of his reign; in which he had time enough to publish his intentions or decrees about the continuance of the worship of the calves; or to sacrifice to them for his good success, either already obtained, or further desired.

Verse 21

The people of Israel fell into a civil war; yet neither this nor any other of God’s dreadful judgments could win them to repentance; which is an evidence of their prodigious impiety and incorrigibleness, and how ripe they were for ruin.

Half of the people followed Tibni, disdaining that the soldiers should usurp such a power over the whole kingdom.

Half followed Omri, because they approved the person, though not the manner of his election.

Verse 22

The people that followed Omri prevailed; partly because they had the army on their side; and principally by the appointment and judgment of God, giving up the Israelites to him who was much the worst, 1 Kings 16:25,1 Kings 16:26.

Tibni died a violent death in the battle.

Verse 23

Began Omri to reign over Israel twelve years, i.e. and he reigned twelve years, not from this thirty-first year of Asa, for he died in his thirty-eighth year, 1 Kings 16:29; but from the beginning of his reign, which was in Asa’s twenty-seventh year, 1 Kings 16:15,1 Kings 16:16. So he reigned four years in a state of war with Tibni, and eight years peaceably.

Verse 24

Built on the hill, to wit, the city; and especially, a royal palace, because that at Tirzah was burnt, 1 Kings 16:18.

Verse 26

He walked in all the way of Jeroboam, i.e. did not only promote the worship of the calves, as Jeroboam and all his successors hitherto had done; but did also imitate all Jeroboam’s other sins, which doubtless were many and great; and peradventure he added this to the rest, that together with the calves he worshipped devils, i.e. other idols of the heathens, as may be thought from 1 Corinthians 10:20, where his worship of the devils and of the calves is distinguished. Besides, though he did no more for the substance of the action than his predecessors did, yet he might justly and truly be said to do worse than they, because he did it with greater aggravations, after so many terrible examples of Divine vengeance upon the kings and people of Israel for that sin; or because he made severer laws concerning the calf-worship, whence we read of the statutes of Omri, Micah 6:16; or did more industriously and violently execute them, with greater despite against God, and malice against his servants.

Verse 31

As if it had been a light thing for him; as if that sin were not big enough to express his contempt of God; as if he thought it below his wit and dignity to content himself with such a vulgar fault. But the Hebrew runs thus, Was it a light thing, &c.? i.e. was this but a small sin, that therefore he needed to add more abominations? where the question, as is usual among the Hebrews, implies a strong denial; and intimates that this was no small sin, but a great crime, and might have satisfied his wicked mind without any additions. Jezebel; a woman infamous for her idolatry, and cruelty, and sorcery, and filthiness. See 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 21:8; 2 Kings 9:22; Revelation 2:20.

Ethbaal, called Ithobalus, or Itobalus, in heathen writers.

King of the Zidonians; so she was of a heathenish and idolatrous race, and such whom the kings and people of Israel were expressly forbidden to marry.

Baal, i.e. the idol which the Zidonians worshipped, which is thought to be Hercules, or false gods, for this name is common to all such. And this idolatry was much worse than that of the calves; because in the calves they worshipped the true God, but in these, false gods or devils, as is evident from 1 Kings 18:21.

Verse 33

Ahab made a grove, against God’s express prohibition, Deuteronomy 7:5.

Verse 34

In his days: this is here added,

1. As a character of the time, and an instance of the truth and certainty of Divine predictions and comminations, this being fulfilled eight hundred years after it was threatened; and withal, as a warning to the Israelites, not to think themselves innocent or safe, because the judgment threatened against them by Ahijah, 1 Kings 14:15, was not yet executed, though they continued in that calf-worship which he condemned; but to expect the certain accomplishment of it in due time, if they persisted in their impenitency. Or,

2. As an evidence of the horrible corruption of his times, and of that high contempt of God which then reigned.

Hiel the Beth-elite; who lived in Beth-el, the seat and sink of idolatry, wherewith he was thoroughly leavened.

Built Jericho; a place seated in the tribe of Benjamin, but belonging to the kingdom of Israel; which place he seems to have chosen for his buildings; not so much for his own advantage as out of a contempt of the true God, and of his threatenings, which he designed to convince of falsehood by his own experience; and out of an ambitious desire to. advance his own reputation and interest thereby, by attempting that which he knew his king and queen too would be highly pleased with.

He laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub; i.e. in the beginning of his building God took away his first-born, and others successively in the progress of the work, and the youngest when he finished it. And so he found by his own sad experience the truth of God’s word, and how vain it was to contend with him.

Quest. Why did not God rather punish Hiel himself?

Answ. This was a terrible punishment, to see his children cut off by Divine vengeance before their time, one after another; and all this for his own folly and rashness. Compare Jeremiah 52:10. And as for Hiel himself, possibly after he had been spared so long, that he might be an eyewitness of his sons untimely deaths, he also might be cut off, though it be not recorded, as not belonging to the prophecy here mentioned; or if not, his present impunity was his greatest misery; either as it continued his torment in the sad and lasting remembrance of his loss and misery; or as it was a mean to harden his heart so for greater judgments, to which he was reserved.

According to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua; of which See Poole "Joshua 6:26".

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 16". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/1-kings-16.html. 1685.
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