Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 21:25

Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord , because Jezebel his wife incited him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ahab;   Elijah;   Influence;   Repentance;   Rulers;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ahab;   Evil;   Influence;   Influences, Evil;   Jezebel;   Queens;   Temptresses;   Women;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sin;   Wives;   Woman;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Joram or Jehoram;   Naboth;   Vine;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ahab;   Jezebel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Festivals;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Government;   Justice;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jehu ;   Jezebel ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Naboth;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elijah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eli'jah;   Jez'ebel;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Urim and Thummim;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ahab;   Jezebel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Levi Ii.;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Did sell himself to work wickedness - He hired himself to the devil for this very purpose, that he might work wickedness. This was to be his employment, and at this he labored.

In the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up - A good wife is from the Lord; a bad wife is from the devil: Jezebel was of this kind; and she has had many successors.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

whom Jezebel stirred up - The history of Ahab‘s reign throughout exhibits him as completely governed by his imperious wife. Instances of her influence are seen in 1 Kings 21:7, 1 Kings 21:15, marginal reference, 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 19:2.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-21.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 21:25

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord.

Ahab

I. An illustration of the depths of human depravity.

1. Ahab’s pre-eminence in sin (1 Kings 16:30). There had been many instances of wickedness decked with the robes of royalty; but there was none like Ahab.

2. Ahab’s bargain with hell. He stands before us as a self-sold slave of the devil. Ahab sold himself! What a bargain!

3. The daring character of Ahab’s wickedness. “In the sight of the Lord.” Most strive to work wickedness under the covert of darkness--under the shades of night, or wearing the hypocrite’s mask. Not so Ahab.

II. An evidence of the unmanly servility of evil. “Whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” This Syrian princess, whom Ahab had married, was a woman of the most consummate subtlety, duplicity, and cruelty.

III. A proof of the magnitude of the divine mercy. Great was the long-suffering of God in permitting Ahab to reign so long (2 Peter 3:9). Great, too, was His mercy in regarding the humiliation of this guilty man (1 Kings 21:29), i.e. the destruction of his posterity (Psalms 86:15). “God gives no repulse” (says Bengel), “when He gives good things: He neither upbraids us with our past folly and unworthiness, nor with future abuse of His goodness.”

IV. The evanescent nature of merely selfish penitence. Ahab appeared by his fasting and humiliation to return to God; but his goodness proved “like the morning cloud.” He soon cast off the yoke of the Divine authority, and “returned to his wallowing in the mire.” In this he is the type of multitudes, who in their affliction say, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord”; but bring forth no “fruits meet for repentance.” (Patrick Morrison.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 21:25". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord,.... Not of any of his predecessors, even those whose families had been destroyed, as his would be, 1 Kings 21:21. See Gill on 1 Kings 21:20.

whom Jezebel his wife stirred up; to idolatry, revenge, and murder, and to whose will he was a slave, and is one instance of his being a captive to sin, and giving up himself to the power of it.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did i sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

(i) By the wicked counsel of his wife he became a vile idolater, and cruel murderer, as one that gave himself wholly to serve sin.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-21.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

Was none — None among all the kings of Israel which had been before him.

Whom Jezebel — This is added to shew, that temptations to sin are no excuse to the sinner.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-21.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 21:25 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

Ver. 25. But there was none like unto Ahab.] A very non-such, as is before noted, bipedum nequissimus, non scelestus sed ipsum scelus.

Which did sell himself, &c., whom Jezebel, &c.] She held him in such slavery, that, for a quiet life with her, and to enjoy her love, he was wholly at her service, not daring to deny anything that she would have done. This γυναικοκρατεια is a great mischief.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-21.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Kings 21:25

If the reign of Ahab had been written in any book save the Bible, far less heavy would be the thunder-clouds which gather round his name. Even the Bible gives a hint of better things: "The ivory houses that he made and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?" But it is the history of religion in Ahab and under Ahab that the Bible would teach us; and so the fairer side, which is the world's side, only shows itself to render more oppressive the moral midnight which settles upon his name as one who sold himself, more than any other, to work evil in the sight of the Lord.

Notice:—

I. Ahab's general conduct as revealing the essential character of his mind. The clue to the career of Ahab is to be found in the counter-influences of Jezebel and Elijah. Ahab was a man weakly wicked. Alike to evil and to good, he was led on by stronger wills than his own. In his ivory palace Jezebel bowed him to her false worship, and to a participation in her enormous crimes; but no sooner did he meet Elijah than the great prophet asserted over the unstable king all the majestic might of holiness. Ahab's history demonstrates that there may be intense sinfulness before God without any deliberate design. From very weakness of character he sold his own soul.

II. Ahab's repentance. At Elijah's words of righteous wrath which accused him of the murder of Naboth, the king's heart was for a while broken; for a moment he seems to have caught a glimpse of the greatness of his sin. The incompleteness of his repentance suggests the two main causes of the frequent incompleteness of repentance among ourselves: (1) the infirmity of will which so often leaves a man at the mercy of whoever will take the trouble to lead him, and (2) his repentance was partial, not comprehensive; it had reference to a portion of his sins, not the whole. He seems to have endeavoured to couple humiliation to the true God with the tacit retention of idol-worship.

Bishop Woodford, Oxford Lent Sermons, 1858, No. 9.

References: 1 Kings 21:25.—R. Heber, Parish Sermons, vol. ii., p. 118; I. Williams, Characters of the Old Testament, p. 215; R. Twigg, Sermons, p. 117; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 417. 1 Kings 21:29.—J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 2nd series, p. 22; H. Thompson, Concionalia: Outlines of Sermons for Parochial Use, vol. i., p. 371; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xv., p. 164. 1Ki 21—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 91. 1Ki 21—W. M. Taylor, Elijah the Prophet, p. 165; Parker, vol. viii., p. 51. 1 Kings 22:1-41.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. v., p. 22.



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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-kings-21.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

There was none like unto Ahab; none among all the kings of Israel which had been before him.

Whom Jezebel his wife stirred up: this is added to show that temptations to sin are no excuse to the sinner.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-21.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Now. Septuagint, "Moreover, Achab was foolishly sold, a man who was sold, &c., since Jezabel....changed him:" Greek: metetheken. His natural disposition was not perhaps so bad. But his unfortunate connexion with a most wicked wife involved him in ruin. Even when he began to relent, and was on the point of reforming his life, (ver. 27.) her influence spoiled all. (Haydock) --- He was sold to her, and she exercised a most severe tyranny over him, using his seal at pleasure, and treating him with indignity, ver. 7, 8. (Tirinus)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The Structure (p. 485) places the member, verses: 1 Kings 21:25-26, as within a parenthesis.

none like unto Ahab. Out of twenty bad kings Ahab was the worst. Compare 1 Kings 16:30, 1 Kings 16:33.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-21.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(25) The dogs shall eat Jezebel.—In all his address to Ahab, Elijah has, as yet, disdained to name the instigator, on whom the coward king, no doubt, threw his guilt. Ahab stands revealed as the true culprit before God, without a shred of subterfuge to veil his ultimate responsibility. Now, briefly and sternly, the prophet notices the bolder criminal, pronouncing against her a doom of shame and horror, seldom falling upon a woman, but rightly visiting one who had forsworn the pity and modesty of her sex. In the “ditch” (see margin) outside the walls, where the refuse of the city gathers the half-wild dogs—the scavengers of Eastern cities—her dead body is to be thrown as offal, and to be torn and devoured.

This verse and the next are evidently the reflection of the compiler, catching its inspiration from the words of Elijah in 1 Kings 21:20. There is in them a tone not only of condemnation, but of contempt, for a king most unkingly—thus selling himself to a half-unwilling course of crime, against the warnings of conscience, not disbelieved but neglected, for the sake of a paltry desire—thus moreover, grovelling under the open dominion of a woman, which, to an Eastern mind, familiar enough with female intrigues, but not with female imperiousness, would seem especially monstrous.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
But there
20; 16:30-33; 2 Kings 23:25
sell himself
20; 2 Kings 17:17; Isaiah 50:1; 52:3; Romans 6:19; 7:14
whom Jezebel
7; 11:1-4; 16:31; 18:4; 19:2; Proverbs 22:14; Ecclesiastes 7:26; Mark 6:17-27; Acts 6:12; 14:2
stirred up
or, incited.
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 16:33 - did more to provoke;  1 Kings 19:1 - Ahab;  1 Kings 21:5 - Jezebel;  1 Kings 21:23 - Jezebel;  1 Kings 22:52 - in the way;  2 Kings 3:2 - but not;  2 Kings 8:18 - the daughter;  2 Kings 9:7 - at the hand;  2 Kings 9:22 - the whoredoms;  2 Kings 9:34 - this cursed woman;  2 Kings 14:24 - in the sight;  2 Kings 16:3 - he walked;  2 Chronicles 18:1 - joined affinity;  2 Chronicles 19:2 - Shouldest;  Esther 5:14 - said Zeresh;  Proverbs 14:1 - the foolish;  Ecclesiastes 8:12 - a sinner;  Jeremiah 34:14 - been sold;  Jeremiah 44:19 - without;  Daniel 4:17 - the basest;  Micah 6:16 - the works;  John 8:34 - Whosoever;  Acts 13:50 - the Jews;  Acts 17:13 - stirred;  Acts 21:27 - stirred

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 21:25". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-21.html.