1 Kings 13:1 - 16:34


Jesus once stated that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  In the previous chapter, we saw Israel as a house divided.  Where once there had been a single nation made up of 12 tribes, now there were two separate nations.


The story of the Divided Kingdom is one of wars, political intrigue, and rebellion against God.  Both kingdoms saw periods of rebellion, but in the Northern Kingdom it was a case of rebellion without reprieve.





19 Kings, 1 Queen


19 Kings




1 Dynasty


5 Dynasties and several independent kings.

Judah & Benjamin


10 Northern Tribes.

Most were unstable; some were good & some were bad.


of the


All were bad, but only Ahab and Ahaziah were Baal worshipers.

By Babylon in 586 B.C.


By Assyria in 721 B.C.

Returned to the land.


No return.





            Now behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. (1 Kings 13:1).


The altar against which this prophecy is pronounced is one of two altars that Jeroboam had caused to be set up.  One altar was at Dan on the northern boarder of Israel.  The other altar was here at Bethel on the southern boarder of Israel.

They were established in the last chapter by Jeroboam who feared that the people of his kingdom might come under the propaganda of Judah when they traveled south to worship at the temple in Jerusalem.  Accordingly, he had these two alternative places of worship set up to dissuade the people from making this pilgrimage.  His religious program seems to have been generally accepted by the people of Israel.  But then a day came when a “man of God” arrived from Judah.


Judah was Jeroboam’s enemy.  It was ruled by his rival, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.  Jeroboam feared that it would not take much to reunite Judah and Israel.  And if the two kingdoms were reunited, he would be a castaway.


1.         The Pronouncement.


            And he cried against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’”

            Then he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the Lord had spoken, ‘Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.’” (1 Kings 13:2-3).


The man of God speaks directly to the altar.  After all, the altar is the visible sign of Jeroboam’s transgression.  There ought not to have been an altar here.  The fact that there was an altar here was a sign that Jeroboam had instituted a religious system different than that which had been established by God.


The prophecy foretells the coming of a son of David - Josiah by name.  This man would offer a sacrifice where Jeroboam was now offering a sacrifice.  But his sacrifice would be the lives of the false priests whom Jeroboam had established.




King of Northern Kingdom of Israel

He would be king of Judah

Took the throne via rebellion

He would be a legitimate descendant of David

Set up an altar at Bethel and offered sacrifices on it

He would slaughter the false priests upon this altar

Ruled from 931 to 910 B.C.

Ruled from 640 to 609 B.C.


This prophecy was given nearly 300 years before Josiah would come on the scene.  There is a lesson here.  It is that God uses a calendar, not a stopwatch.  There are promises in the Scriptures which were made thousands of years ago and which still have not yet been fulfilled.  But they will be.  Just because Christ does not come back tomorrow does not mean that He is not coming back.


2.         Jeroboam’s Response.


4                       Now when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, Seize him.”  But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself.

5                       The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. ( 1 Kings 13:4-5).


Jeroboam was furious over this prophecy.  He pointed at the man of God and ordered that he be arrested.  But no sooner had he done this when the hand with which he had pointed was itself “dried up.”  This king who “took a hand” in establishing his own religious system found that his own hand completely impotent before the presence of the Lord.


3.         Jeroboam’s Request.


            The king said to the man of God, “Please entreat the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.”  So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and it became as it was before. (1 Kings 13:6).


Jeroboam quickly changes his tune.  He goes from threatening to pleading.  But this is not true repentance.  This is seen in the manner of his request.  He asks the man of God to intercede on his behalf:   “Please entreat the Lord YOUR God, and pray for me.”


He seems to recognize that the God of Abraham is not his God.  God is the prophet’s God, but He is not the God of Jeroboam.  True repentance takes place when God becomes YOUR God.


4.         Jeroboam’s Invitation.


Once he had been healed, Jeroboam took a different track -  If you can’t beat them, then join them.  He invited the man of God to eat with him.  But the man refused.  He had been given some very specific instructions from the Lord.


   Don’t eat with anyone in Israel.

   Don’t drink with anyone in Israel.

   Don’t even travel home the same way.





Having refused Jeroboam’s offer of hospitality, the man of God began making his way back to Judah.  He had been told not to eat or drink or even to travel along the same path in Israel.  But while he was on his way, something happened to change his resolve.  It was an old prophet who lived in Bethel.  He intercepted the man of God and spun a yarn about an angel having brought a change of plan.


            He said to him, “I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’”  But he lied to him. (1 Kings 13:18).


This old prophet was lying through his teeth.  What was the purpose of this deception?  He wished to bend the man’s will to his own, so he made up a story about an angel appearing to him.  There is an important lesson here.  God’s truth remains true.  It remains true even though an angel might be claimed to have brought a contradicting message.  The Mormon church preaches such a message.  They claim that an angel named Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith with some new revelation which changed that which was previously taught.  Many people have unwittingly followed this message.  They have followed in the tragic path of this man of God.  The apostle Paul reminds us of the importance of holding to the plain truths of God even in the face of the claim of contradicting supernatural revelation.


            But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8).


The man of God accepted the prophet’s words at face value.  And in doing so, he departed from the clear revelation of God.


            Now it came about, as they were sitting down at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back;  21 and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the command of the Lord, and have not observed the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you,  22  but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water”; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.’” (1 Kings 13:20-22).


This time the Lord really does speak to the old prophet.  The message is one of judgment against the man of God.  He is judged because he disobeyed the clear command of the Lord.  As he continues on his way, he is met by a lion which kills him.


Now I have to ask a question.  What is the point of this story?  Why is it inserted in this narrative of kings and kingdoms?  The man of God is a microcosm of the people of Israel.  They had been given clear instructions from the Lord as to how He was to be worshiped and how they were to live.  Jeroboam has come on the scene and has established an alternative means of worship.  It is not that Jeroboam is telling people to worship a different God - he is merely telling them to worship the Lord in a different way.  His is the religion of pragmatism.  It is the way of convenience.  Who wants to travel all the way to Jerusalem to worship when you can do it without ever leaving the comfort of your own home?


The Man of God

The People of Israel

Given specific instructions as to how he was to travel through Israel.

Given specific instructions as to how they were to worship God.

He followed the old prophet’s alternate instructions.

They followed Jeroboam’s alternate method of worship.

He was killed by a lion.

They would ultimately be taken into captivity.


As we read this story, we are to put ourselves into the sandals of both the man of God and the people of Israel.  We have also been given specific instructions on how we are to worship God.  The temptation will be to deviate from those instructions, but that it a dangerous prospect.  What course will we take?





1.         Jeroboam’s Lack of Repentance.


33                     After this event Jeroboam did not return from his evil way, but again he made priests of the high places from among all the people; any who would, he ordained, to be priests of the high places.

34                     This event became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to blot it out and destroy it from off the face of the earth. (1 Kings 13:33-34).


The prophecy, the miraculous disease and the miraculous healing had absolutely no permanent effect upon Jeroboam.  He continued in his program to establish his own group of priests who would be loyal to him and who would worship in the way he wished.


2.         The Prophecy of Jeroboam’s Doom.


            At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam became sick.  2 Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise now, and disguise yourself so that they will not know that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh; behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who spoke concerning me that I would be king over this people.” (1 Kings 14:1-2).


Jeroboam now found himself faced with a problem.  His son was sick.  This was the son of whom God had promised to build “an enduring house” (1 Kings 11:38).  He was the heir apparent.


Jeroboam sends his wife to confer with Ahijah the prophet.  It had been Ahijah who had first brought the good news that the Kingdom would be divided and the northern tribes given to Jeroboam.  Perhaps he reasons that Ahijah will deliver more good news.  But this is not to be the case.  The message that he delivers is a message of judgment.


            “Go, say to Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel,  8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you ‑‑ yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in My sight;  9  you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back ‑‑ 10 therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. (1 Kings 14:7-10).


The King James Version correctly gives the vulgar description of the males of Jeroboam’s family - “every one that pisseth against the wall” (14:10).  This expression is found only in Samuel and Kings.  It is always used of those who are condemned to death.

Jeroboam is judged because of his religious programs which have led the people into idolatry.  Because he has “done more evil” (vs 9 -           ) than any before him, so now the Lord is “bringing calamity,.” literally, “bring evil” against him.  The dynasty which was originally promised to Jeroboam is now going to be flushed away like a piece of refuse.


The sign that God’s judgment will eventually be born will be that Jeroboam’s son will die.  There is an interesting contrast here.



The Church

Sign of God’s judgment - child shall die.

Sign of God’s grace - a Child was born.

His death was a sign of impending judgment.

His death was a sign of our salvation.

The child was the only one of Jeroboam’s family to come to the grave.

The Child did not remain in the grave, but rose from the dead.


This judgment is not alone upon the house of Jeroboam.  It also extends to the entire Northern Kingdom of Israel.


            “For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.” (1 Kings 14:15).


Because of the idolatry of the Northern Kingdom, they will ultimately be uprooted and taken into captivity to be scattered beyond the Euphrates River.  The fulfillment of this prophecy will not take place until 721 B.C. when the Assyrians invade the land and accomplished this promised uprooting.  This is a conditional promise.  It is conditioned upon their continuing disobedience.  There will be a waiting period of 200 years between the time that the judgment is pronounced to the time when the judgment is carried out.

That is a time of GRACE.  During that time, the Israelites can avoid that judgment by turning to the Lord in repentance.





1.         The Times of Rehoboam’s Reign.


            Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty‑one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. And his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess. (1 Kings 14:21).


Some scholars have wrestled with the idea that Rehoboam was 41 at the beginning of his reign since we read of  the young men who grew up with him” in 1 Kings 12:10.  Furthermore, 2 Chronicles 13:7 speaks of the splitting of the kingdom having taken place at a time when Rehoboam “was young and timid and could not hold his own against them.”

Rehoboam was the son of Solomon.  His mother was of the country of Ammon - presumably one of the 700 foreign wives which Solomon had married.  Theirs had been a political marriage and it had produced this young man.


The parallel account in 2 Chronicles 11:17 tells us that the people of Judah served the Lord for three years.  It was only after Rehoboam felt himself secure and established as king of Judah that he led the nation in forsaking the way of the Lord (2 Chronicles 12:1).


Rehoboam’s story is one of good beginnings but poor endings.  It is a pattern which we shall see repeated in a number of the kings of Judah.  It began with Solomon.  And now it is seen in his son.  It is often seen in people today.


The Christian life has been likened to a race.  Paul said that we all run.  But it is not a sprint.  It is a marathon.  We are in for the long haul.  We are running for eternity.  No one ever won only the first half of a race.  You only win if you cross the finish line.


2.         The Sins of Judah.


22                     Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with the sins which they committed.

23                     For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree.

24                     There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel. (1 Kings 14:22-24).


Judah actually seems to have descended more readily into idolatry and the worship of false gods than did Israel.  This process had begun with Solomon and the pagan practices of his foreign wives.  It now returned with a vengeance.


·        High Places:    It was the custom throughout the entire fertile crescent to conduct worship in a “high place.”  The origin of this practice may go back all the way to the Tower of Babel.


·        Sacred Pillars:   This is different from a support pillar or column.  This is an obelisk.  They were used by the Canaanites as fertility symbols.


·        Asherim:   An Asherah was a tree which was used for worship.  Asherim (plural) were an entire grove of such trees.


·        Male Cult Prostitutes:    A part of the pagan worship involved homosexual acts within the places of worship.  It was thought that participation in such actions would incite the various gods who ruled over the wind and the rain to participate and thus bring fertility to the land.


The people of Israel had been forbidden from participating in these pagan practices.  But now they entered into them with a passion.  As a result, the Lord soon brought judgment upon the land.


3.         Invasion from Egypt.


25                     Now it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.

26                     He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house, and he took everything, even taking all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

27                     So King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place, and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the doorway of the king's house.

28                     Then it happened as often as the king entered the house of the Lord, that the guards would carry them and would bring them back into the guards’ room. (1 Kings 14:25-28).


The 21st Dynasty of Egypt had been friendly to Israel to the point of Pharaoh’s daughter being wedded to King Solomon.  However these good relations did not last past Solomon’s death.


Now there came a Libyan to the throne who founded a new ruling family - the 22nd Dynasty.  He is known in historical records as Sheshonq (the Biblical Shishak).  He was able to reunify the country which had been previously divided and brought a certain amount of stability to the crown.  He then turned his attention to foreign policy, renewing an alliance with Byblos and regaining control of Nubia.


We know from Egyptian records at Karnak that this raid extended all the way into Galilee.

It is likely this same Sheshonq who gave refuge to such enemies of Israel as Jeroboam and Hadad the Edomite.  Now he marched into Judah.  Archaeological records list 150 cities which he claimed to have taken in this campaign.  Among the cities which were looted was Jerusalem and its temple.


From this time on, the reign of Rehoboam would be only a shadow of its former glory.  The golden shields of Solomon were replaced by shields of bronze, a less-valued commodity.  The old forms continued, but they lost some of their luster.


That is what happens when sin takes place.  It may be forgiven, but life loses some of its luster.  How is your luster?  Have you lost something in transition?  Perhaps that fading is due to sin which has crept in.  If that is the case, it is time to repent and return.





1                       Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah.

2                       He reigned three years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.

3                       He walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David. (1 Kings 15:1-3).


Our story now moves from Jeroboam in the north back to the Kingdom of Judah in the south.  The reader should take care not to confuse Abijah, son of Jeroboam with Abijam, son of Rehoboam.


We are specifically told that Abijam followed in the sins of Rehoboam and Solomon.  There is a lesson here for fathers.  It is the lesson of the harvest.  You always sow what you reap.  And you always sow MORE than what you reap.  If you are setting an example of sinfulness, then your children will take that example and will often surpass it.  On the other hand, if you teach your children to serve the Lord and to follow Him, they will often not only follow your example, but will surpass it.





1.         His Reign.


            So in the twentieth year of Jeroboam the king of Israel, Asa began to reign as king of Judah. (1 Kings 15:9).


Asa would bring about the first of four revivals in the Kingdom of Judah.  His reign of 41 years would mark a returning to the Lord.


2.         His Righteous Walk.


            Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father. (1 Kings 15:11).


Throughout the rest of the book of Kings, we will read of each of the kings of Judah a summary statement of the way in which he conducted himself.  This summary will say one of two things.


a.         He walked in the sins of his fathers.


b.         He walked right in the sight of the Lord like David.


There are two ways in which you can live.  You can live in sin, or you can live in the sight of the Lord, determined to try to obey Him and please Him.  Asa was such a man.  He wished to do right in the sight of God.


3.         His Reforms.


            He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made.

            He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned it at the brook Kidron. (1 Kings 15:12-13).


The writer of Kings make no mention of the prophet Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:1-7) who was a moving influence in the life of Asa.  There are times when God will use a man or a woman as an influence for good behind the scenes.


2 Chronicles 15 relates how Asa called an assembly of the people in which all were invited to renew their covenant with the Lord.


4.         The Limitations of Reform.


            But the high places were not taken away; nevertheless the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days. (1 Kings 15:14).


Although Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord, it did not necessarily follow that all of he subjects were equally devoted to God.  While it is true that you CAN legislate morality, you CANNOT legislate devotion.  You can make a person to ACT in the appropriate manner, but you cannot make a person believe.  You can govern outward actions, but you cannot govern attitudes.  Only the Lord can do that.


5.         War with Israel.


The reforms which Asa brought about in Judah served as a beacon for the worship of the Lord to all Israelites.  He gave an open invitation to members of every tribe of Israel to come and to worship in the Temple.


            And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin and those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who resided with them, for many defected to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord was with him. (2 Chronicles 15:9).


This was seen as a threat to the continued security of the Northern Kingdom and the response was an embargo against all traffic coming from or going into Judah.


            Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah. (1 Kings 15:16-17).


Baasha had murdered all of the dynasty of Jeroboam (we are told that story in the latter part of this chapter).  He invaded Judah and captured the city of Ramah, a scant 5 miles north of Jerusalem.


There are several different cities in Palestine by this name.  The name means “high place.”  Those towns with this name were all built on top of a mountain.


The purpose of Baasha’s taking of this city was to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah.  It was not enough for Baasha to walk in the path of idolatry.  He also wanted to stop others from worshiping the Lord.  Evil is like that.  Evil always wants company.


6.         Alliance with Aram.


18                     Then Asa took all the silver and the gold which were left in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and the treasuries of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben‑hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Aram, who lived in Damascus, saying, 19 “Let there be a treaty between you and me, as between my father and your father. Behold, I have sent you a present of silver and gold; go, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so that he will withdraw from me.”

20                     So Ben‑hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel‑beth‑maacah and all Chinneroth, besides all the land of Naphtali. (1 Kings 15:18-20).


Instead of turning to the Lord for help, Asa responds to the incursion by soliciting assistance from the King of Aram (modern Syria), the country to the northeast of Israel. 


The Aramaeans had been long-standing enemies of Israel.  David had subdued the Aramaean tribes, occupying Damascus (2 Samuel 8:6), but in the days of Solomon, Rezon ben Eliada had retaken Damascus, being “Israel’s adversary as long as Solomon lived” (1 Kings 11:23-25).


Now there was a new dynasty in Damascus headed by Ben-Hadad (there will be several kings of Damascus with this name.  Hadad was the name one of the pagan deities of that day).  Asa stripped the treasures of the Temple and used them to bribe Benhadad into invading Israel from the north.


“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.  You have acted foolishly in this.  Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” - Hanani the Seer to Asa (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Why would Asa turn to Aram for help instead of turning to the Lord?  Perhaps he had been infected with the idea of a dichotomy between the spiritual realm versus the social and political realm.  He was willing to turn to the Lord for spiritual matters but sought to handle secular matters on his own.


We are often tempted to do the same thing.  We trust in Christ for eternal life, but we won’t trust Him to deal with a difficult situation at work.





1.         Baasha.


Once again, our scene shifts back to the northern kingdom of Israel.  We have already seen Baasha as the king who was pitted against Asa, but now we are told of his origins.


25                     Now Nadab the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years.

26                     He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and in his sin which he made Israel sin.

27                     Then Baasha the son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against him, and Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon.

28                     So Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah and reigned in his place. (1 Kings 15:25-28).


Baasha was a usurper to the throne - an assassin-turned king.  This sets the tone for the rest of the history of the northern kingdom of Israel.  There will be a number of different dynasties which rule over Israel and each will end with the assassination of a king and the murder of his progeny.


            It came about as soon as he was king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam any persons alive, until he had destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30 and because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger. (1 Kings 15:29-30).


The execution of the entire family of Jeroboam was a punishment for the sins of Jeroboam in leading Israel into idolatry.


However Baasha proved to be no better at following the Lord than Jeroboam.  He seems to have continued in following the same spiritual idolatry which had been instituted by Jeroboam.  As a result, he was confronted by the prophet Jehu.


1                       Now the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,  2 “Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made My people Israel sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins, 3 behold, I will consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

4                       “Anyone of Baasha who dies in the city the dogs will eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat.” (1 Kings 16:1-4).


As the house of Jeroboam had been removed for its idolatry, so the house of Baasha would be removed for continuing in the same idolatry.


2.         Elah.


Elah was the son of Baasha and succeeded him to the throne of Israel.  It was after a reign of only two years that he was assassinated by Zimri, one of his military commanders.


House of Jeroboam

House of Baasha

Founder of the dynasty rebelled against Rehoboam and reigned for a long period - 22 years.

Founder of the dynasty murdered Nadab and reigned in his place for a long period - 24 years.

Jeroboam instituted idolatry in the land.

Baasha continued the program of idolatry.

Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, succeeded his father and reigned only 2 years before being assassinated.

Elah, the son of Baasha, succeeded his father and reigned only 2 years before being assassinated.





The assassination of Elah and its resulting execution of all of the members of the house of Baasha left a power vacuum.  Zimri may have thought to become king himself, but he was unable to gain a following and his reign lasted only a week.  Following his untimely death, there arose two contenders for the throne of Israel.


  Tibni, the son of Ginath.

  Omri, commander of the army.


After a civil war which lasted 6 years, it was Omri who came out as the winner in this conflict - he seems to have had both the military expertise as well as the support of the army it taking the throne.


1.         Samaria.


            He bought the hill Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and named the city which he built Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill. (1 Kings 16:24).


Samaria was to become the new capital city of Israel.  It was located on a large oval hilltop, from the top of which the Mediterranean Sea was visible to the west.  It lay 6½ miles northwest of Shechem and along the major north-south highway.


Samaria was surrounded by a double wall with towers and bastions.  Its main gate faced east where a low ridge joins the hill of Samaria to the major north-south mountain range.


2.         Ahab’s Marriage Alliance.


30                     Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him.

31                     It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.

32                     So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria. (1 Kings 16:30-32).


Ahab, the son of Omri and successor to his throne, entered into an alliance with the Phoenicians, sealing it by taking a Phoenician princess to be his wife.  This alliance would have long-lasting repercussions in Israel.

It is because of this Phoenician influence that Ahab soon finds himself engaged, not only in idolatry, but in the worshiping of Baal, the god of the Phoenicians.


Up to this time, the Israelites had been guilty of attempting to worship Yahweh in an improper manner - through the use of idols which had been established at Bethel and at Dan.  But now they turned away completely from any attempt to worship the Lord and turned instead to a false god.


3.         The Rebuilding of Jericho.


            In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. (1 Kings 16:34).


Jericho had been destroyed in the days of Joshua.  It had been the first city of Canaan to fall to the Israelites when they entered into the land.  As such, it had been accursed - all its inhabitants and even the plunder of the city given over to be burned.  Achan’s sin had been that of attempting to take some of that plunder for himself and he had paid with his life.


Joshua had issued a decree that Jericho was not to be rebuilt.  With his decree came a curse - that the man who would attempt to rebuild Jericho would suffer the loss of both his first-born son and his youngest son (Joshua 6:26).


Apparently with the full blessing of Ahab, Hiel set out to rebuild Jericho.  In keeping with the ancient curse, he seems to have deliberately sacrificed both his oldest and his youngest sons.  This was the sort of activity which was commonplace among Baal worshipers.


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