1 Kings 15-17 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Abijah, King of Judah
15 Abijah became the new king of Judah during the 18th year that Jeroboam son of Nebat ruled Israel. 2 Abijah ruled in Jerusalem for three years. His mother’s name was Maacah. She was Absalom’s daughter.
3 He did all the same sins that his father before him had done. Abijah was not faithful to the Lord his God. In this way he was not like his grandfather, David. 4 But for David’s sake, the Lord gave Abijah a kingdom in Jerusalem and allowed him to have a son. He also kept Jerusalem safe. 5 David had always done what the Lord said was right. He had always obeyed his commands. The only time David did not obey the Lord was when he sinned against Uriah the Hittite.
6 Rehoboam and Jeroboam were always fighting against each other.[a] 7 The rest of what Abijah did is written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah.
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam during the whole time that Abijah was king. 8 When Abijah died, he was buried in the City of David. Abijah’s son Asa became the new king after him.
Asa, King of Judah
9 During Jeroboam’s 20th year as king over Israel, Asa became king of Judah. 10 He ruled in Jerusalem for 41 years. His grandmother’s name was Maacah, and she was the daughter of Absalom.
11 Asa did what the Lord said is right, as his ancestor David did. 12 During Asa’s time there were men who served other gods by selling their bodies for sex. Asa forced them to leave the country. He took away the idols that his ancestors had made. 13 King Asa also took away the right of his mother Maacah to be queen mother. He did this because she had set up one of those awful Asherah poles. Asa cut down the pole and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Asa did not destroy the high places, even though he was faithful to the Lord all his life. 15 Asa and his father had given some special gifts to God. Asa put these gifts of gold, silver, and other things in the Lord’s Temple.
16 The whole time that King Asa was king of Judah, he fought a war against King Baasha of Israel. 17 Once Baasha attacked Judah and then built up the city of Ramah to keep Asa from leaving Judah on any kind of military campaign. 18 So Asa took gold and silver from the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the king’s palace. He gave it to his officials and sent them to King Ben-Hadad of Aram. Ben-Hadad was the son of Tabrimmon. Tabrimmon was the son of Hezion. Damascus was Ben-Hadad’s capital city. 19 Asa sent this message: “My father and your father had a peace agreement. Now I want to make a peace agreement with you. I am sending you this gift of gold and silver. Please break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel and make him leave us alone.”
20 King Ben-Hadad made the agreement with King Asa and sent his army to fight against the Israelite towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, the towns near Lake Galilee, and the area of Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard about these attacks, he stopped building up Ramah and went back to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa gave an order to all the men in Judah. Everyone had to help. They had to go to Ramah and carry out all the stone and wood that Baasha was using to build up the city. They carried the material to Geba in Benjamin and to Mizpah and used it to strengthen those two cities.
23 All the other things about Asa—the great things he did and the cities he built—are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. When Asa became old, his feet became infected. 24 He died and was buried in the City of David, his ancestor. Then Asa’s son Jehoshaphat became the new king after him.
Nadab, King of Israel
25 During Asa’s second year as king of Judah, Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king of Israel. Nadab ruled over Israel for two years. 26 He did what the Lord said was wrong. He sinned just as his father Jeroboam did when he caused the Israelites to sin.
27 Baasha was the son of Ahijah. They were from the tribe of Issachar. Baasha made a plan to kill King Nadab. Nadab and all Israel were fighting against the Philistine town of Gibbethon. And that is where Baasha killed Nadab. 28 This happened during Asa’s third year as king of Judah. So Baasha became the next king of Israel.
Baasha, King of Israel
29 When Baasha became the new king, he killed everyone in Jeroboam’s family. He left no one in Jeroboam’s family alive. This happened just as the Lord said it would when he spoke through his servant Ahijah at Shiloh. 30 This happened because King Jeroboam had committed many sins and had caused the Israelites to sin. This made the Lord, the God of Israel, very angry.
31 The other things that Nadab did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 32 All during the time that Baasha ruled over Israel, he was fighting wars against King Asa of Judah.
33 Ahijah’s son Baasha became king of Israel during the third year that Asa ruled over Judah. Baasha ruled in Tirzah for 24 years, 34 but he did what the Lord said was wrong. He did the same sins that Jeroboam had done that caused the Israelites to sin.
16 Then the Lord spoke against King Baasha through the prophet, Jehu son of Hanani. He said, 2 “I made you an important prince over my people Israel. But you have done the same things Jeroboam did. You have caused my people Israel to sin. Their sins have made me angry. 3 So Baasha, I will destroy you and your family, just as I did Jeroboam son of Nebat and his family. 4 Dogs will eat the bodies of those in your family who die in the city. And wild birds will eat the bodies of those who die out in the fields.”
5 The rest of the story about Baasha and the great things he did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 6 Baasha died and was buried in Tirzah. His son Elah became the new king after him.
7 That book also has the story of the time the Lord gave the message to Jehu the prophet about Baasha and his family. Baasha did many things the Lord said were wrong, just as Jeroboam and his family had done. This and the fact that Baasha had killed everyone in Jeroboam’s family made the Lord very angry.
Elah, King of Israel
8 Elah son of Baasha became king during the 26th year that Asa was the king of Judah. He ruled in Tirzah for two years.
9 Zimri was one of King Elah’s officers. Zimri commanded half of Elah’s chariots, but Zimri plotted against Elah. King Elah was in Tirzah, drinking and getting drunk at Arza’s home. Arza was the man in charge of the palace at Tirzah. 10 Zimri went into the house and killed King Elah. Then Zimri became the new king of Israel after Elah. This was during the 27th year that Asa was king in Judah.
Zimri, King of Israel
11 After Zimri became the new king, he killed all of Baasha’s family and friends. He did not let any male in Baasha’s family live. 12 So Zimri destroyed Baasha’s family just as the Lord said he would when he spoke against Baasha through the prophet Jehu. 13 This happened because of all the sins of Baasha and his son, Elah. They sinned and they caused the Israelites to sin. They worshiped worthless idols, and this made the Lord angry.
14 The rest of what that Elah did is written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel.
15 Zimri became king of Israel during the 27th year that Asa was king of Judah. Zimri ruled in Tirzah only seven days. This is what happened: The army of Israel was at Gibbethon, which was under Philistine control. 16 Omri was the commander of the army of Israel. The men in the camp heard that Zimri had made secret plans against the king and killed him. So in the camp all the soldiers made Omri the new king. 17 Then Omri and all the soldiers of Israel left Gibbethon and went to Tirzah. They surrounded the city and attacked it. 18 When Zimri saw the city had been captured, he ran to the palace fortress, but the soldiers burned it down with him still in it. 19 So Zimri died because he sinned and did what the Lord said was wrong, just as Jeroboam did when he caused the Israelites to sin.
20 The story about Zimri’s secret plans and the other things that he did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel.
Omri, King of Israel
21 Then the Israelites were divided. Half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath and wanted to make him king. The other half of the people followed Omri. 22 But Omri’s followers were stronger than the followers of Tibni son of Ginath. Tibni died, and Omri became king.
23 Omri became king of Israel during Asa’s 31st year as the king of Judah. Omri ruled over Israel for 12 years. Six of those years he ruled from Tirzah. 24 Then Omri bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for about 150 pounds[b] of silver. Omri built a city on that hill. He named the city Samaria after the name of its owner, Shemer.
25 Omri did what the Lord said was wrong. He was worse than all the kings who were before him. 26 He committed all the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had committed when he caused the Israelites to sin. They worshiped worthless idols, and this made the Lord, the God of Israel, very angry.
27 The rest of the story about Omri and the great things he did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 28 Omri died and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab became the new king after him.
Ahab, King of Israel
29 Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel during the 38th year that Asa was king of Judah. Ahab ruled Israel from the town of Samaria for 22 years. 30 He did what the Lord said was wrong. Ahab was worse than all the kings who were before him. 31 It was not enough for Ahab to commit the same sins that Jeroboam, son of Nebat, had done. Ahab also married Jezebel, daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon. Then Ahab began to serve and worship Baal. 32 He built a temple and an altar in Samaria for worshiping Baal. 33 He also set up a sacred pole.[c] Ahab did more to make the Lord, the God of Israel, angry than all the other kings who were before him.
34 During Ahab’s time, Hiel from Bethel rebuilt the town of Jericho. When Hiel started work on the city, his oldest son Abiram died. And when Hiel built the gates of the city, his youngest son Segub died. This happened just as the Lord said it would happen when he spoke through Joshua son of Nun.[d]
Elijah and the Time Without Rain
17 Elijah was a prophet from the town of Tishbe in Gilead. He said to King Ahab, “I serve the Lord, the God of Israel. By his power, I promise that no dew or rain will fall for the next few years. The rain will fall only when I command it to fall.”
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Leave this place and go east. Hide near Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan River. 4 You can get your water from that stream, and I have commanded ravens to bring food to you there.” 5 So Elijah did what the Lord told him to do. He went to live near Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan River. 6 Ravens brought Elijah food every morning and every evening, and he drank water from the stream.
7 There was no rain, so after a while the stream became dry. 8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go to Zarephath in Sidon and stay there. There is a widow there that I commanded to take care of you.”
10 So Elijah went to Zarephath. He went to the town gate and saw a woman there gathering wood for a fire. She was a widow. Elijah said to her, “Would you bring me a small cup of water to drink?” 11 As she was going to get the water, Elijah said, “Bring me a piece of bread too, please.”
12 The woman answered, “I promise you, before the Lord your God, that I have nothing but a handful of flour in a jar and a little bit of olive oil in a jug. I came here to gather a few pieces of wood for a fire to cook our last meal. My son and I will eat it and then die from hunger.”
13 Elijah said to the woman, “Don’t worry. Go home and cook your food as you said. But first make a small piece of bread from the flour that you have and bring it to me. Then cook some for yourself and your son. 14 The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘That jar of flour will never be empty and the jug will always have oil in it. This will continue until the day the Lord sends rain to the land.’”
15 So the woman went home and did what Elijah told her to do. And Elijah, the woman, and her son had enough food for a long time. 16 The jar of flour and the jug of oil were never empty. This happened just as the Lord said through Elijah.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He became worse and worse until he stopped breathing. 18 Then the woman said to Elijah, “You are a man of God. Can you help me? Or did you come here only to remind me of my sins and to make my son die?”
19 Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” He took the boy from her and carried him upstairs. He laid him on the bed in the room where he was staying. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord. He said, “Lord my God, this widow is letting me stay in her house. Will you do this bad thing to her? Will you cause her son to die?” 21 Then Elijah lay on top of the boy three times. He prayed, “Lord my God, let this boy live again!”
22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer. The boy began breathing again and was alive. 23 Elijah carried the boy downstairs, gave him to his mother, and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 The woman answered, “Now I know that you really are a man from God. I know that the Lord really speaks through you!”