1 Kings 16
One-week king of Israel, and company
Death of Israel’s dynasty Two1God sent a man named Jehu, son of Hanani, to deliver this message to Israel’s King Baasha:
2“You were just another puff of dust in the desert before I made you king over my people of Israel. But you’ve become just as bad as Jeroboam ever was. You’ve led my people into sin. It makes me angry to watch this. 3I will put an end to it—and to your family dynasty. What happened to Jeroboam’s family will happen to yours. 4If anyone in your family dies while they’re in the city, people will leave their bodies for the dogs. If any of them dies in the field, people will leave them for the birds.” 5The rest of Baasha’s story appears in the History of Israel’s Kings. 6Baasha died and people buried him in Israel’s capital city of Tirzah. His son Elah became the next king. 7God had sent the prophet Jehu to deliver that message to Baasha because the king was evil—and because he murdered everyone in Jeroboam’s extended family. What Baasha did made God angry.
Elah, two-year king of Israel8Elah son of King Baasha became Israel’s king during Asa’s twenty-sixth year as king of Judah. Elah lived at Tirzah and ruled for two years.
9One of his military commanders launched a coup. The man was Zimri. He commanded half the chariots in Israel’s army. What happened is that one day the king started drinking himself drunk. He was visiting the home of Arza, an official who ran the palace. 10Zimri walked in on the king and killed him right there. Then he declared himself king of Israel. By then, Asa was into his twenty-seventh year as king of Judah.
11Zimri wanted to make sure no one from Baasha’s family dynasty challenged him as rightful king. So, he killed them all—every male in the entire extended family. He killed their friends, too. 12Zimri did what Jehu had predicted in a message from the LORD. He erased Baasha’s family name. 13Baasha and Elah brought this on themselves by worshiping idols and committing other sins that upset God. 14The rest of Elah’s story appears in the History of Israel’s Kings.
Dynasty Three: the one-week king15Zimri lasted one week—a mere seven days. He ruled Israel from the capital city of Tirzah. At the time, King Asa was into his twenty-seventh year as king of Judah. Meanwhile, Israel’s army was away at war, fighting at the Philistine city of Gibbethon. 
16Israel’s army got news from home: “Zimri launched a coup and killed the king.” That same day, the army declared Israel’s top commander, Omri, king of Israel.  17Then Omri broke off his attack of the Philistines and led his troops to attack their own capital city of Tirzah.
18When they overran the city defenses, Zimri barricaded himself in the keep—the most secure room of the palace. Then he set the building on fire and died there. 19This happened because Zimri was as evil and as rotten of a ruler as Jeroboam. He sinned and he invited Israel to sin with him. 20The rest of Zimri’s story, including the report of his coup, appears in the History of Israel’s Kings.
Israel’s dynasty Four: Omri21For four years, Israel couldn’t agree on who should become king after Zimri. Some supported Omri. But others supported a man named Tibni  son of Ginath. 22Omri’s supporters won that contest, and Tibni died. Omri became king.
23Omri captured the throne when King Asa of Judah was in the thirty-first year of his reign. Omri led Israel for 12 years, six from the capital city of Tirzah.
Samaria: Israel’s new capital24Omri bought a hill from a man named Shemer and paid about 150 pounds  of silver for it. Omri built a new capital city on that hill. He named the town Samaria, after the former owner. 
25Omri wasn’t just an evil king. He was worse than all the other kings before him. 26He followed the rotten example of Jeroboam son of Nebat. He sinned and he taught Israel how to sin. God got angry at them for worshiping idols. 27The rest of Omri’s story is on the record in the History of Israel’s Kings. 28He died and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab became the next king of Israel.
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel29Asa was into his thirty-eighth year as king of Judah when Ahab became king of Israel in the northland. Ahab reigned for 22 years in Samaria. 30Ahab set a new low for Israel. He was more rotten than all the bad kings before him. 31It wasn’t enough that he followed Jeroboam’s wretched example. He added Jezebel as a wife. She was a princess, daughter of Sidon’s King Ethbaal. Ahab worshipped Baal  just like the people of Sidon did.
32Ahab built a house of worship for Baal, along with an altar so people of Israel could sacrifice to Baal. 33Ahab also erected a sacred Asherah  pole for the people to use in their worship rituals. He did more to provoke God than all the kings before him.
34It was during Ahab’s reign that a man named Hiel from the town of Bethel rebuilt the city of Jericho. After he poured the foundation, his oldest son died, Abiram. After he built the city gates into the walls, his youngest son died, Segub. Joshua, centuries earlier, had predicted  this would happen to anyone who dared rebuild the city God had destroyed.
Location of Gibbethon is uncertain. Archaeologists have suggested al-Majdal, near Ashkelon or Tel Malot in the Sorek Valley near the hometowns of Samson and Delilah. That would put the distance between Gibbethon and Tirzah at roughly 60 miles (100 km), which would be about a three-day walk.
Omri was probably upset not only because Zimri assassinated the king, but because Zimri was his subordinate—a mid-level commander under Omri, the supreme commander. It was a bit like a captain promoting himself to Top Dog and expecting the General to salute him.
Everything we know about Tibni is here. Some people in Israel supported him as king for four years, but he lost the contest and somehow lost his life. Omri may have had something to do with putting him in the ground.
That was about 68 kilograms, or two talents in ancient Hebrew weight.
The names sound similar when you drop the “h.”
Baal was considered a god of fertility in family, flocks, and fields. Some scholars say the idea behind one worship ritual was to entertain Baal by letting him watch people have sex. They did this so he would make it rain. It’s a tad gross, but some taught that the rain was Baal’s semen. So, if the sex of worshipers got Baal stimulated enough, he would make it rain in this predominately dry part of the world. Priests apparently served as sacred prostitutes assigned to helping worshipers please their god.
The text says only a “sacred pole,” but those were called Asherah poles elsewhere. These may have been trees or poles meant to represent trees, as symbols of a Canaanite fertility goddess known as Asherah, goddess of motherhood. She was the love interest of Baal. He was chief god of the people who lived in Canaan, now known as Israel and Palestinian Territories.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.