1 Kings 16

Listen to 1 Kings 16
1 And the word of the LORD came to 1Jehu the son of 2Hanani against Baasha, saying,
2 "Since I 3exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and 4you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins,
3 behold, I will utterly 5sweep away 6Baasha and his house, and I will make your house 7like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
4 8Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall 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 And Baasha slept with his fathers and was buried at 9Tirzah, and Elah his son reigned in his place.
7 Moreover, the word of the LORD came by the prophet 10Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha and his house, both because of all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and also because 11he destroyed it.

Elah Reigns in Israel

8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah the son of Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned two years.
9 But his servant 12Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him. When he was at Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, 13who was over the household in Tirzah,
10 Zimri came in and struck him down and killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place.
11 When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne, he struck down 14all the house of Baasha. He 15did not leave him a single male of his relatives or his friends.
12 Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, 16according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke against Baasha by 17Jehu the prophet,
13 for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel to sin, 18provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their idols.
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?

Zimri Reigns in Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah. Now the troops were encamped against 19Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines,
16 and the troops who were encamped heard it said, "Zimri has conspired, and he has killed the king." Therefore all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp.
17 So Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.
18 And when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king's house and burned the king's house over him with fire and died,
19 because of his sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the LORD, 20walking in the way of Jeroboam, and for his sin which he committed, making Israel to sin.
20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the conspiracy that he made, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

Omri Reigns in Israel

21 Then the people of Israel were 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 who followed Omri overcame the people who followed Tibni the son of Ginath. So Tibni died, and Omri became king.
23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel, and he reigned for twelve years; six years he reigned in Tirzah.
24 He bought the hill of 21Samaria from Shemer for two talents[a] of silver, and he fortified the hill and called the name of the city that he built 22Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.
25 23Omri did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did more evil 24than all who were before him.
26 For 25he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in the sins that he made Israel to sin, 26provoking the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols.
27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the might that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
28 And Omri slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria, and Ahab his son reigned in his place.

Ahab Reigns in Israel

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.
30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, 27more than all who were before him.
31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, 28he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the 29Sidonians, 30and went and served Baal and worshiped him.
32 He erected an altar for Baal in 31the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria.
33 And Ahab made an 32Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger 33than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
34 34In his days Hiel of Bethel built 35Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.

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?

Cross References 35

  • 1. 2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 20:34
  • 2. 2 Chronicles 16:7
  • 3. [1 Kings 14:7]
  • 4. 1 Kings 15:34
  • 5. [1 Kings 14:10; 1 Kings 21:21]
  • 6. ver. 11
  • 7. [1 Kings 15:29]
  • 8. [1 Kings 14:11; 1 Kings 21:24]
  • 9. 1 Kings 14:17; 1 Kings 15:21
  • 10. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 11. 1 Kings 15:27, 29; [Hosea 1:4]
  • 12. 2 Kings 9:31
  • 13. [1 Kings 18:3]
  • 14. [ver. 3]
  • 15. [1 Samuel 25:22]
  • 16. ver. 3
  • 17. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 18. ver. 26; Deuteronomy 32:21
  • 19. 1 Kings 15:27
  • 20. [1 Kings 15:26, 34]
  • 21. [1 Kings 13:32]
  • 22. ver. 28, 29, 32
  • 23. Micah 6:16
  • 24. ver. 30
  • 25. [See ver. 19 above]
  • 26. ver. 13
  • 27. 1 Kings 21:25; [ver. 25]
  • 28. [Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3]
  • 29. Judges 18:7
  • 30. 1 Kings 21:25, 26; [2 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 10:18; 2 Kings 17:16]
  • 31. 2 Kgs. 10:21, 26, 27
  • 32. 1 Kings 18:19; 2 Kings 13:6; 2 Kings 17:10; 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chronicles 14:3; [Exodus 34:13; Jeremiah 17:2]
  • 33. [See ver. 30 above]
  • 34. [Joshua 6:26]
  • 35. See 2 Kgs. 2:4, 18-22

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.