1 Kings 16-18
The Divided Kingdom-Israel & Judah (various Kings), cont’d. 1 Kings 12-22
1 Kings 16:1-7-God used the prophet Jehu (son of Hanani) to tell of the death of Baasha. When he died, his son Elah became king of Israel.
1 Kings 16:8-20…Elah became king of Israel (886-885)
Elah became king of Israel during the 26th year of Asa's rule over Judah. His servant, Zimri killed him while he was "drinking himself drunk” (:9). He had reigned 2 years (during the 27th year of Asa's reign). Zimri then had all of Baasha's family killed...fulfilling the prophecy of Jehu (:1ff).
1 Kings 16:9…Zimri became king of Israel
Zimri reigned for 7 days.
1 Kings 16:16…Omri became king of Israel (885-874)
Israel made Omri (commander of the army) its king...Omri attacked Zimri and Zimri committed suicide by burning the building he was hiding in down around himself.
1 Kings 16:21-28-The people of Israel divided...half followed Omri, the other half followed Tibni...but the people of Omri won and Tibni died. Omri became king in the 31st year of Asa, king of Judah. Omri reigned a total of 12 years, 6 at Tizrah. Then he reigned 6 more at his new capital, Samaria (7 miles northwest of Shechem). The name “Samaria” not only became the name of the new capital…but it also became the name by which the northern kingdom of Judah would become known by. Omri was the most wicked king up to his time. His son Ahab became king…and became even more wicked.
1 Kings 16:29-34…Ahab became king of Israel (874-853)
Ahab became king of Israel in the 38th year of Asa, king of Judah...and he reigned for 22 years. He was the most wicked king ever. He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians...and he worshipped Baal and built an altar to him in Samaria...he also made the Asherah (chief goddess of Tyre, and mother of Baal).
- Ethbaal means, "with Baal." "Jezebel's name may come from a cultic cry used in the worship of Baal meaning 'Where is Baal?' Translated into Hebrew the name was also a verbal pun that the Israelites must have relished. Zebel in Hebrew means dung!" (Dilday)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 1 Kings 16,
Jezebel is one of the few biblical characters treated almost uniformly negatively both in the biblical text and in the subsequent interpretive tradition. The daughter of a Phoenician king, Jezebel becomes queen over Israel through her marriage to Ahab (1 Kgs. 16:31). From this introduction, we know that the Deuteronomistic editor thinks poorly of Jezebel. The fact of her marriage is sandwiched between two negative statements: first, that King Ahab’s sins exceeded those of Jeroboam and, second, that Ahab served Baal. The biblical text does not indicate direct causality between Ahab’s taking Jezebel as a wife and his sinfulness or worship of Baal. Still, the proximity of the statements in 1 Kings 16:31 creates the association in the mind of the reader—an association strengthened by a later verse that does directly blame Jezebel for Ahab’s misdeeds (1 Kgs. 21:25).
While never the center of the story, Jezebel appears numerous times in the narrative of 1 and 2 Kings. She kills the prophets of YHWH (1 Kgs. 18:4, 13); provides sustenance to the prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kgs. 18:19); threatens revenge against Elijah after the episode at Mount Carmel (1 Kgs. 19:1–2); orchestrates the murder of Naboth in order to obtain his field for her husband (1 Kgs. 21:5–15); and boldly meets her death with painted face and freshly done hair (2 Kgs. 9:30–37). From the viewpoint of the Deuteronomist, everything Jezebel does is sinful, and she fully deserves the gruesome death predicted by Elijah (1 Kgs. 21:23) and Elisha (2 Kgs. 9:7–10). Moreover, while we have no indication in the text that Jezebel’s misdeeds include sexual exploits, Jehu, YHWH’s chosen usurper, accuses Jezebel of “whoredoms and sorceries” (2 Kgs. 9:22). Whether Jehu intends to insinuate sexual looseness or, more likely, religious infidelity (i.e., worship of multiple deities) is not clear.
Snyder, J. B. (2012). Jezebel and Her Interpreters. In C. A. Newsom, J. E. Lapsley, & S. H. Ringe (Eds.), Women’s Bible Commentary (Revised and Updated., p. 180). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, Logos Bible Software
Daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon (1 Kgs 16:31). She became the wife of Ahab, king of the northern kingdom of Israel; the marriage was probably a continuation of the friendly relations between Israel and Phoenicia begun by Omri and confirmed a political alliance between the two nations. Jezebel exerted a strong influence over the life of Israel, as she insisted on establishing the worship of Baal and demanded the absolute rights of the monarchy. So strong was her pagan influence that Scripture attributes the apostasy of Ahab directly to Jezebel (1 Kgs 16:30–34).
Jezebel’s efforts to establish Baal worship in Israel began with Ahab’s acceptance of Baal following the marriage (1 Kgs 16:31). Ahab followed Jezebel’s practices by building a house of worship and altar for Baal in Samaria (32), and by setting aside a grove, probably for worship of the Asherah (33). A campaign was then conducted to exterminate the prophets of God (1 Kgs 18:4), while Jezebel organized and supported large groups of Baal prophets, housing and feeding large numbers of them in the royal palace (1 Kgs 18:19). To meet this challenge God sent Elijah, first to prophesy a drought which lasted three years (1 Kgs 17:1; 18:1).
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 1165). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, Logos Bible Software
1 Kings 17:1-24-Elijah (means: Yahweh is God), the Tishbite...told Ahab that there would be no rain until he said so.
In 1 Kings 17:1 the word rendered “inhabitants” is in the original the same as that rendered “Tishbite,” hence that verse may be read as in the LXX, “Elijah the Tishbite of Tishbi in Gilead.” Some interpret this word as meaning “stranger,” and read the verse, “Elijah the stranger from among the strangers in Gilead.” This designation is probably given to the prophet as denoting that his birthplace was Tishbi, a place in Upper Galilee (mentioned in the Apocryphal book of Tobit), from which for some reason he migrated into Gilead. Josephus, the Jewish historian (Ant. 8:13, 2), however, supposes that Tishbi was some place in the land of Gilead.
The Lord told Elijah to live by the book Cherith, and that He would send ravens to bring him food. Eventually, the brook dried up. God told him to go to Zarepath...a widow will provide for him there. The widow had only a little flour and oil. God told Elijah that as long as she fed him the flour and oil would be replenished...and they were. Then the widow's son became ill and he died (:17). Elijah "stretched himself upon the child three times" and prayed and God brought the child back to life.
1 Kings 18:1-"after many days"...3½ years (3 years at Zarepath + the time at Cherith = 3½ years, according to Luke 4:25 and James 5:17). God sends Elijah to Ahab. The famine was very severe. Ahab sent for Obadiah (he "feared the LORD greatly", :3). When Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the LORD, he had hidden 100 of them in caves. Ahab sent Obadiah out to find water...along the way he ran into Elijah. Elijah sent him to tell Ahab that he had found him. When Ahab came to Elijah he blamed Elijah for the famine..."Is this you, you troubler of Israel?" (:17)...instead of recognizing that the famine was the result of his own sin (:18). Elijah tells Ahab to have all the prophets of Baal (#450) and of Asherah (#400) to come to them. Elijah called upon the people to choose between the LORD and Baal...to quit going from one to the other...but they did not respond. He challenged them to give proof of who was really God...by causing a sacrifice to catch on fire by praying..."the God who answers by fire, He is God" (:24). They called on Baal from "morning until noon" (:26). At noon, Elijah mocked them. They continued until evening..."but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention" (:29). Elijah "repaired the altar of the LORD which had been torn down". He made a trench around it. He then had four pitchers of water poured over the sacrifice and altar, three times, until the trench was full of water. At the time of the evening sacrifice Elijah prayed to the LORD...fire consumed everything, including the stones of the altar. He then had the prophets of Baal killed. He told Ahab to go eat because there was a storm coming. Elijah went up on Mt. Carmel (a mountain range that rises to 1,800 feet and just out into the Mediterranean Sea near the modern day city of Haifa). He told his servant to look out over the sea (Mediterranean) for rain clouds. He sent him back seven times and on the last time he saw a small cloud in the distance. Elijah sent word to Ahab to go quickly to Jezreel (his winter residence about 17 miles away)...but God gave Elijah supernatural strength and he outran Ahab's chariot and beat him there.
Prayer: Lord, I pray that you would use my life as you did the life of Elijah when he prayed, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that Thou, O LORD, art God, and that Thou has turned their heart back again.” Please use me to bring people to You.