I Kings 16

Destruction, when it comes, whoever is the instrument of it,
is the act of God’s justice and the result of sin.
Those who resemble others in their sins may expect to get similar plagues.

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

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;

3 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.

4 Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.

5 Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

6 So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead.

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.

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.

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.

10 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.

11 ¶ And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

12 Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet,

13 For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

14 Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

15 ¶ In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.

16 And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.

17 And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.

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,

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.

20 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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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

26 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.

27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.

29 ¶ And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.

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

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.

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

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.

34 ¶ In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite 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.

1 Kings 16:1-14 – ​Executioners of Evil-Doers

   A noble figure crosses the canvas for a moment. It is Jehu, the son of Hanani, shining like a star in the night. No age has been without its prophets; no life, however abandoned, has been without some remonstrating voice; no soul goes over the cataract without a warning cry. And these messages, answering to the voice of conscience within, reveal the pitying love of the Father, not willing that any should perish, Ezekiel 18:23. Hanani, Jehu’s father, had been a prophet, II Chronicles 16:7, and Jehu held the same office for a long period, II Chronicles 19:2; 20:34.
   Baasha died in peace and was buried in state. But such an end is not the end, and points forward to another life, since God is God, Psalm 17:14. Elah and the remainder of the royal house were cut off by Zimri, and the extermination was so complete that none of his avengers were left. But Zimri, after a reign of seven days, was similarly treated, II Kings 9:31. Seven days are long enough to test a man, and in that brief space Zimri found time to walk in the way of Jeroboam and his sin, I Kings 16:15, 19. Such is the course of this world. Happy are they who, amid political convulsion, live the life of the quiet in the land, I Thessalonians 4:11, and receive the kingdom that cannot be moved, Hebrews 12:27.

1 Kings 16:15-28 – ​Persistence in Sinful Ways

   These chapters afford a dreary record of apostasy and revolution, of idolatry and national disaster. Perhaps the great mass of the people—the peasantry—were not greatly affected by these dynastic changes, though severe judgments of famine and drought were soon to make the nation realize what an evil and bitter thing it is to desert the Fountain of living waters for broken cisterns that can hold no water, Jeremiah 2:13. Four times in this chapter we meet the phrase, “provoke… to anger” (I Kings 16:7, 13, 26, 33). To idolatry was added intemperance, I Kings 16:9, and the fruit was suicide, anarchy, and civil war, I Kings 16:18, 21-22. But great as these evils were, they were to be surpassed, I Kings 16:30.
   The one sufficient bulwark against universal anarchy is the maintenance of true religion. People talk with glib tongues against the Puritan conscience and demand the secularization of the Lord’s day, but they are surely imperiling the stability and order of the commonwealth. More than is ordinarily realized are the relations between man and man affected by the relation between the nation and God. The writings of Voltaire helped to bring on the French Revolution; while the religious revivals of the eighteenth century, both in England and in America, contributed greatly to solid national progress.

1 Kings 16:29-34 – ​Sin’s Climax

   From the beginning of his reign Ahab set aside both the First and the Second Commandment. His marriage with Jezebel, the young and beautiful Sidonian princess, plunged him and his kingdom into yet deeper darkness. In addition to Jeroboam’s calves, the worship of Baal, the sun-god, was shamelessly introduced, and his temple was served by hundreds of priests. The inspired artist does not hesitate to paint with Rembrandt colors, and the illustrious glory of Elijah shows clearly against the dark background. The darkest hour precedes the dawn; the keenest pain ushers in birth. First Ahab and Jezebel, then Elijah.

1 Kings 16:33—Ahab did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings.

   His sin was very aggravated, largely through the influence of Jezebel, his young and beautiful wife, who introduced the abominations of Phoenician idol-worship. This is why he is said to have exceeded his predecessors in wickedness. They broke the second commandment, and worshipped Jehovah under the form of a calf. Ahab and Jezebel broke the first, and chose other gods—Baal, the sun, and Ashtoreth, the moon. The inveterate love for this idolatry was connected with licentious rites with which these deities were served. What wonder that the land became corrupt when the fountains of its religious life were polluted at the source?
   The connection between the indulgence of impurity and the declension of the spiritual life, is very close. As the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1, the men that refuse to retain God in their knowledge are given up to the working of passion; and as they yield to passion they lose the sweet, clear impression of the truth and nearness of the Christ. The first, second, and third thing to be said to young people on venturing out into the world, corrupt through many deceitful lusts, is, Be pure. Wear the white flower of a blameless life. If you cannot be faultless, be blameless. If you cannot realize all the good you know, at least refrain from all the evil. Keep your robes unspotted from the world. Then through purity of heart and obedience in life, you shall see God. As the living Christ enters the heart, He will drive before Him the brute forms of evil, overthrow the tables of the moneychangers, and will sit to teach of God. Give yourself unreservedly into His keeping, that He may govern and control every avenue of your life.