1 Kings 16

1 The LORD's word came to Jehu, Hanani's son, against Baasha:
2 I raised you up from the dust and made you a leader over my people Israel, but you walked in Jeroboam's ways, making my people Israel sin, making me angry with their sins.
3 So look, I am about to set fire to Baasha and his household, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam, Nebat's son.
4 Dogs will eat any of Baasha's family who die in town. Birds will eat any who die in the country.
5 Now the rest of Baasha's deeds, what he did, and his powerful acts, aren't they written in the official records of Israel's kings?
6 Baasha lay down with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah. His son Elah succeeded him as king.
7 But the LORD's word came through the prophet Jehu, Hanani's son, concerning Baasha and his house. It concerned everything evil in the LORD's eyes that Baasha had done, angering the Lord by his actions so that he would end up just like the house of Jeroboam. The message was also about how the Lord attacked Baasha.

Elah rules Israel

8 In the twenty-sixth year of Judah's King Asa, Elah, Baasha's son, became king over Israel. He ruled in Tirzah for two years.
9 Zimri, his officer who led half the chariots, plotted against him. Elah was at Tirzah, getting drunk at the house of Arza, who had charge over the palace at Tirzah.
10 Zimri came, attacked, and killed Elah in the twenty-seventh year of Judah's King Asa. Zimri succeeded him as king.
11 Once Zimri became king and sat on the throne, he attacked all of Baasha's house. He didn't spare anyone who urinates on a wall, whether relative or friend.
12 Zimri destroyed the entire house of Baasha in agreement with the LORD's word that had been spoken by the prophet Jehu to Baasha.
13 This happened because of all Baasha's sins, as well as the sins of his son Elah and because they caused Israel to sin. They angered Israel's God, the LORD, with their insignificant idols.
14 The rest of Elah's deeds and all that he did, aren't they written in the official records of Israel's kings?

Zimri rules Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Judah's King Asa, Zimri became king. He ruled in Tirzah for seven days. The army was camped at Gibbethon in Philistia.
16 They heard the news: "Zimri has plotted against the king and killed him." Right then, in the camp, the whole Israelite army made their general Omri king of Israel.
17 Omri and the entire army then went up from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah.
18 When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he went into the fort of the royal palace and burned it down on top of himself. So he died.
19 This happened because of the sins Zimri had committed by doing evil in the LORD's eyes and by walking in Jeroboam's ways and the sin he had done by causing Israel to sin.
20 The rest of Zimri's deeds and the plot he carried out, aren't they written in the official records of Israel's kings?

Omri rules Israel

21 At this time the people of Israel were split in two. One half of the people followed Tibni, Ginath's son, making him king; the other half followed Omri.
22 Omri's side was stronger than those who followed Tibni, Ginath's son. So Tibni died and Omri became king.
23 In the thirty-first year of Judah's King Asa, Omri became king of Israel. He ruled for twelve years, six of which were in Tirzah.
24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two kikkars of silver. He fortified the hill and named the town that he built there after Shemer, the previous owner of the hill of Samaria.
25 Omri did evil in the LORD's eyes, more evil than anyone who preceded him.
26 He walked in all the ways and sins of Jeroboam, Nebat's son, because he caused Israel to sin. They angered Israel's God, the LORD, with their worthless idols.
27 The rest of Omri's deeds and his powerful acts, aren't they written in the official records of Israel's kings?
28 Omri lay down with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab succeeded him as king.

Ahab rules Israel

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Judah's King Asa, Ahab, Omri's son, became king of Israel. He ruled over Israel in Samaria for twenty-two years
30 and did evil in the LORD's eyes, more than anyone who preceded him.
31 Ahab found it easy to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, Nebat's son. He married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, who was the king of the Sidonians. He served and worshipped Baal.
32 He made an altar for Baal in the Baal temple he had constructed in Samaria.
33 Ahab also made a sacred pole and did more to anger the LORD, the God of Israel, than any of Israel's kings who preceded him.
34 During Ahab's time, Hiel from Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He set up its foundations at the cost of his oldest son Abiram. He hung its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub. This fulfilled the LORD's word spoken through Joshua, Nun's son.

1 Kings 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

The reigns of Baasha and Elah in Israel. (1-14) Reigns of Zimri and Omri in Israel. (15-28) Ahab's wickedness, Hiel rebuilds Jericho. (29-34)

Verses 1-14 This chapter relates wholly to the kingdom of Israel, and the revolutions of that kingdom. God calls Israel his people still, though wretchedly corrupted. Jehu foretells the same destruction to come upon Baasha's family, which that king had been employed to bring upon the family of Jeroboam. Those who resemble others in their sins, may expect to resemble them in the plagues they suffer, especially those who seem zealous against such sins in others as they allow in themselves. Baasha himself dies in peace, and is buried with honour. Herein plainly appears that there are punishments after death, which are most to be dreaded. Let Elah be a warning to drunkards, who know not but death may surprise them. Death easily comes upon men when they are drunk. Besides the diseases which men bring themselves into by drinking, when in that state, men are easily overcome by an enemy, and liable to bad accidents. Death comes terribly upon men in such a state, finding them in the act of sin, and unfitted for any act of devotion; that day comes upon them unawares. The word of God was fulfilled, and the sins of Baasha and Elah were reckoned for, with which they provoked God. Their idols are called their vanities, for idols cannot profit nor help; miserable are those whose gods are vanities.

Verses 15-28 When men forsake God, they will be left to plague one another. Proud aspiring men ruin one another. Omri struggled with Tibni some years. Though we do not always understand the rules by which God governs nations and individuals in his providence, we may learn useful lessons from the history before us. When tyrants succeed each other, and massacres, conspiracies, and civil wars, we may be sure the Lord has a controversy with the people for their sins; they are loudly called to repent and reform. Omri made himself infamous by his wickedness. Many wicked men have been men of might and renown; have built cities, and their names are found in history; but they have no name in the book of life.

Verses 29-34 Ahab did evil above all that reigned before him, and did it with a particular enmity both against Jehovah and Israel. He was not satisfied with breaking the second commandment by image-worship, he broke the first by worshipping other gods: making light of lesser sins makes way for greater. Marriages with daring offenders also imbolden in wickedness, and hurry men on to the greatest excesses. One of Ahab's subjects, following the example of his presumption, ventured to build Jericho. Like Achan, he meddled with the accursed thing; turned that to his own use, which was devoted to God's honour: he began to build, in defiance of the curse well devoted to God's honour: he began to build, in defiance of the curse well known in Israel; but none ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. Let the reading of this chapter cause us to mark the dreadful end of all the workers of iniquity. And what does the history of all ungodly men furnish, what ever rank or situation they move in, but sad examples of the same?

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or and also about how he attacked him or and because Baasha had attacked Jeroboam
  • [b]. Heb asherah, perhaps an object devoted to the goddess Asherah

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of the ruin of the family of Baasha, and an account of his death, 1Ki 16:1-7, and of his son's reigning in his stead two years, who was slain by Zimri one of his captains, 1Ki 16:8-14, and who reigned but seven days, 1Ki 16:15-20, and the people being divided between Tibni and Omri, the party for the latter prevailed, and he was made king, and reigned twelve years, 1Ki 16:21-28, and was succeeded by his son Ahab, a very wicked prince, 1Ki 16:29-33, and the chapter is concluded with the rebuilding of Jericho, 1Ki 16:34.

1 Kings 16 Commentaries

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