1 Kings 16
16 The Eternal’s message came to Jehu (Hanani’s son) against Baasha.
Eternal One: 2 I gave you an amazing opportunity, Baasha. I lifted you up from the dirt of the ground and appointed you to lead My people Israel; but you have been foolish, have embraced the same path as Jeroboam, and have caused My people Israel to live sinful lives. You have provoked My wrath against their wickedness. 3 Therefore I will devour you and all who serve you and belong to you. I will do to your house what I did to the house of Jeroboam (Nebat’s son). 4 The hungry dogs will devour the remains of all those who belong to you if they die within the city walls. The birds in the sky will swoop down and eat up the remains of all those who belong to you if they die in the fields.
5 Is not the rest of Baasha’s story—his actions and lasting legacy—documented in the book of the chronicles of Israel’s kings? 6 Baasha left this world to sleep with his fathers and was laid to rest in Tirzah. His son, Elah, then inherited the throne. 7 So that is how it happened—the Eternal’s message, which He gave through the prophet Jehu (Hanani’s son), challenged Baasha and all those who belonged to him and served him. This took place because of the abhorrent wickedness he committed in the Eternal’s eyes. By his wicked deeds and by embracing the same wickedness as Jeroboam, Baasha provoked the anger of the Eternal.
8 During the 26th year of King Asa’s reign, Elah (Baasha’s son) took over the throne of Israel in Tirzah. He ruled two years. 9 Zimri, Elah’s servant who was in charge of half his chariots, plotted against Elah. Elah was drinking excessively in Tirzah at Arza’s house. (Tirzah was in Arza’s control.) 10 Zimri murdered Elah during the 27th year of Asa’s reign over Judah, and he inherited the throne.
11 As soon as Zimri became king and gained the power of the throne, he killed every male in Baasha’s family. He did not leave a single survivor—no family or friends or servants to challenge his claim to the throne. 12 Zimri demolished Baasha’s entire household, just as the Eternal had said in His message against Baasha that He gave through the prophet Jehu. 13 He did this because of all the abhorrent wickedness committed by Baasha and by his son, Elah, which caused the Israelites to live sinful lives. This wickedness with their idols invoked the wrath of the Eternal God of Israel. 14 Is not the rest of Elah’s story—his actions and lasting legacy—documented in the book of the chronicles of Israel’s kings?
15 During the 27th year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Zimri ruled for seven days in Tirzah. Everyone was encamped around Gibbethon, which was in the possession of the Philistines, preparing to lay siege. 16 All those camped out heard the rumor, “Zimri plotted to kill the king, and he has succeeded in his scheme.” So that day the entire community of Israel appointed Omri, the military leader and Zimri’s commander, to be Israel’s king until a permanent king was given power. 17 Omri and the entire community of Israel abandoned their plans in Gibbethon and laid siege on Tirzah. 18 When Zimri perceived that the city had been taken over, he panicked and ran into the highest fortress in the king’s house and set fire to the house around him. He burned himself alive in the house 19 because of the abhorrent wickedness he had committed in the Eternal’s eyes. He had walked the wicked path of Jeroboam, causing the Israelites to live sinful lives. 20 Is not the rest of Zimri’s story—his actions and the record of his secret plot—documented in the book of the chronicles of Israel’s kings?
21 The community of Israel was split up into two separate groups. One group embraced Tibni (Ginath’s son) as king. The other group embraced Omri as king. 22 The group that followed Omri as king was more powerful and defeated the people who followed Tibni (Ginath’s son) as king. Tibni died, and Omri inherited the throne.
23 During the 31st year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Omri took over Israel’s throne. He reigned 12 years—6 of those years were in Tirzah. 24 He purchased Samaria Hill from Shemer for 150 pounds of silver. He developed a city on the hill and named the city Samaria after Shemer, the man from whom he had purchased the hill.
25 Omri committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes. He was more wicked than any wicked king who had lived before him, and there were a lot of wicked kings who lived before him. 26 He embraced the wicked path of Jeroboam (Nebat’s son), causing the Israelites to live sinful lives. Their worthless gods caused the wrath of the Eternal God of Israel to boil.
27 Is not the rest of Omri’s story—his actions demonstrating his might and lasting legacy—documented in the book of the chronicles of Israel’s kings? 28 Omri left this world to sleep with his fathers and was laid to rest in Samaria. His son, Ahab, then inherited the throne.
Nations often have several names. The Northern Kingdom is called “Israel” after the tribes who settled there, “Samaria” after its capital city, and the “House of Omri” after its founder. Omri is considered the founder of the Northern Kingdom, even though he isn’t the first king, because he establishes its capital in Samaria and is the first king buried there. In the ancient patriarchal system, the king is seen as the father of the country, so the entire nation is his household. He sees to the protection, nourishment, and advancement of his people, just as a father cares for his children. As long as the Northern Kingdom survives, it is called the “House of Omri” by many in honor of its first, and therefore greatest father.
29 Omri’s son, Ahab, took over Israel’s throne during the 38th year of Asa’s reign over Judah. Ahab (Omri’s son) ruled Israel in Samaria 22 years.
30 Ahab (Omri’s son) committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes. He was more wicked than all the wicked kings who lived before him. 31 Ahab was not content to commit the wickedness that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) had. He went even further, marrying the Sidonian princess Jezebel and offering his loyalties and worship to Baal. Jezebel was King Ethbaal’s daughter, and Ethbaal was the king of the Sidonians.
32 He constructed an altar in honor of Baal in Baal’s temple in Samaria. 33 Ahab crafted a sacred pole there as well. Ahab incited the wrath of the Eternal God of Israel more than any king who had lived before him.
34 During Ahab’s reign, Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho. As he put down its foundations, he buried his firstborn, Abiram, beneath them.
Following the common pagan practice of burying children beneath cities to ensure favor from the gods, Hiel fulfills the expectation set by Joshua for anyone who rebuilds Jericho.
As he raised its gates, he buried his youngest son, Segub, beneath them, thinking this would ward off evil. This all happened just as the Eternal One said it would through the message he gave through Joshua, Nun’s son.[a]