1 Kings 15-17
Contemporary English Version
King Abijam of Judah
15 Abijam became king of Judah in Jeroboam’s eighteenth year as king of Israel, 2 and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
3 Abijam did not truly obey the Lord his God as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he was sinful just like his father Rehoboam. 4-5 David had always obeyed the Lord’s commands by doing right, except in the case of Uriah.[a] And since Abijam was David’s great-grandson, the Lord kept Jerusalem safe and let Abijam have a son who would be the next king.
6-7 The war that had broken out between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continued during the time that Abijam was king.
Everything else Abijam did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 8 Abijam died and was buried in Jerusalem,[b] and his son Asa became king.
King Asa of Judah
9 Asa became king of Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam’s rule in Israel, 10 and he ruled forty-one years from Jerusalem. His grandmother was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
11 Asa obeyed the Lord, as David had done. 12 He forced the prostitutes[c] at the shrines to leave the country, and he got rid of the idols his ancestors had made. 13 His own grandmother Maacah had made an idol of Asherah, and Asa took it and burned it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother.[d]
14 As long as Asa lived, he was completely faithful to the Lord, even though he did not destroy the local shrines. 15 He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to the Lord.
16 Asa was always at war with King Baasha of Israel. 17 One time, Baasha invaded Judah and captured the town of Ramah. He started making the town stronger, so he could put troops there to stop people from going in and out of Judah.
18 When Asa heard about this, he took the silver and gold from his palace and from the Lord’s temple. He gave it to some of his officials and sent them to Damascus with this message for King Benhadad[e] of Syria: 19 “Our fathers signed a peace treaty. Why don’t we do the same thing? This silver and gold is a present for you. So, would you please break your treaty with Baasha and force him to leave my country?”
20 Benhadad did what Asa asked and sent the Syrian army into Israel. They captured the towns of Ijon, Dan, and Abel-Bethmaacah, and the territories of Chinneroth and Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard about it, he left Ramah and went back to Tirzah.
22 Asa ordered everyone in Judah to carry away the stones and wood Baasha had used to strengthen the town of Ramah. Then he used these same stones and wood to fortify the town of Geba in the territory of Benjamin and the town of Mizpah.
23 Everything else Asa did while he was king, including his victories and the towns he rebuilt, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. When he got older, he had a foot disease. 24 Asa died and was buried in the tomb of his ancestors in Jerusalem.[f] His son Jehoshaphat then became king.
King Nadab of Israel
25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in Asa’s second year as king of Judah, and he ruled two years. 26 Nadab disobeyed the Lord by following the evil example of his father, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
27-28 Baasha son of Ahijah was from the tribe of Issachar, and he made plans to kill Nadab. When Nadab and his army went to attack the town of Gibbethon in Philistia, Baasha killed Nadab there. So in the third year of Asa’s rule, Baasha became king of Israel.
29 The Lord’s prophet Ahijah had earlier said, “Not one man or boy in Jeroboam’s family will be left alive.” And, as soon as Baasha became king, he killed everyone in Jeroboam’s family, 30 because Jeroboam had made the Lord God of Israel angry by sinning and causing the Israelites to sin.
31 Everything else Nadab did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
32 King Asa of Judah and King Baasha of Israel were always at war.
King Baasha of Israel
33 Baasha son of Ahijah became king of Israel in Asa’s third year as king of Judah, and he ruled twenty-four years from Tirzah. 34 Baasha also disobeyed the Lord by acting like Jeroboam, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
16 The Lord sent Jehu son of Hanani to say to Baasha:
2 Nobody knew who you were until I, the Lord, chose you[g] to be the leader of my people Israel. And now you’re acting exactly like Jeroboam by causing the Israelites to sin. What you’ve done has made me so angry 3 that I will destroy you and your family, just as I did the family of Jeroboam. 4 Dogs will eat the bodies of your relatives who die in town, and vultures will eat the bodies of those who die in the country.
5-7 Baasha made the Lord very angry, and that’s why the Lord gave Jehu this message for Baasha and his family. Baasha constantly disobeyed the Lord by following Jeroboam’s sinful example—but even worse, he killed everyone in Jeroboam’s family!
Everything else Baasha did while he was king, including his brave deeds, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. Baasha died and was buried in Tirzah, and his son Elah became king.
King Elah of Israel
8 Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel after Asa had been king of Judah for twenty-five years, and he ruled from Tirzah for two years.
9 Zimri commanded half of Elah’s chariots, and he made plans to kill Elah.
One day, Elah was in Tirzah, getting drunk at the home of Arza, his prime minister, 10 when Zimri went there and killed Elah. So Zimri became king in the twenty-seventh year of Asa’s rule in Judah.
11 As soon as Zimri became king, he killed everyone in Baasha’s family. Not one man or boy in his family was left alive—even his close friends were killed. 12 Baasha’s family was completely wiped out, just as the Lord’s prophet Jehu had warned. 13 Baasha and Elah sinned and caused the Israelites to sin, and they made the Lord angry by worshiping idols.
14 Everything else Elah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Zimri of Israel
15-16 Zimri became king of Israel in Asa’s twenty-seventh year as king of Judah, but he ruled only seven days from Tirzah.
Israel’s army was camped near Gibbethon in Philistia under the command of Omri. The soldiers heard that Zimri had killed Elah, and they made Omri their king that same day. 17 At once, Omri and his army marched to Tirzah and attacked. 18 When Zimri saw that the town was captured, he ran into the strongest part of the palace and killed himself by setting it on fire. 19 Zimri had disobeyed the Lord by following the evil example of Jeroboam, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
20 Everything else Zimri did while he was king, including his rebellion against Elah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Omri of Israel
21 After Zimri died, some of the Israelites wanted Tibni son of Ginath to be king, but others wanted Omri. 22 Omri’s followers were stronger than Tibni’s, so Tibni was killed, and Omri became king of Israel 23 in the thirty-first year of Asa’s rule in Judah.
Omri ruled Israel for twelve years. The first six years he ruled from Tirzah, 24 then he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for about one hundred fifty pounds of silver. He built a town there and named it Samaria, after Shemer who had owned the hill.
25 Omri did more evil things than any king before him. 26 He acted just like Jeroboam and made the Lord God of Israel angry by causing the Israelites to sin and to worship idols.
27 Everything else Omri did while he was king, including his brave deeds, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 28 Omri died and was buried in Samaria, and his son Ahab became king.
King Ahab of Israel
29 Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa’s rule in Judah, and he ruled twenty-two years from Samaria.
30 Ahab did more things to disobey the Lord than any king before him. 31 He acted just like Jeroboam. Even worse, he married Jezebel the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon[h] and started worshiping Baal. 32 Ahab built an altar and temple for Baal in Samaria 33 and set up a sacred pole[i] for worshiping the goddess Asherah. Ahab did more to make the Lord God of Israel angry than any king of Israel before him.
34 While Ahab was king, a man from Bethel named Hiel rebuilt the town of Jericho. But while Hiel was laying the foundation for the town wall, his oldest son Abiram died. And while he was finishing the gates, his youngest son Segub died. This happened just as the Lord had told Joshua to say many years ago.[j]
Elijah Stops the Rain
17 Elijah was a prophet from Tishbe in Gilead.[k] One day he went to King Ahab and said, “I’m a servant of the living Lord, the God of Israel. And I swear in his name that it won’t rain until I say so. There won’t even be any dew on the ground.”
2 Later, the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Leave and go across the Jordan River so you can hide near Cherith Creek. 4 You can drink water from the creek, and eat the food I’ve told the ravens to bring you.”
5 Elijah obeyed the Lord and went to live near Cherith Creek. 6 Ravens brought him bread and meat twice a day, and he drank water from the creek. 7 But after a while, it dried up because there was no rain.
Elijah Helps a Widow in Zarephath
8 The Lord told Elijah, 9 “Go to the town of Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve told a widow in that town to give you food.”
10 When Elijah came near the town gate of Zarephath, he saw a widow gathering sticks for a fire. “Would you please bring me a cup of water?” he asked. 11 As she left to get it, he asked, “Would you also please bring me a piece of bread?”
12 The widow answered, “In the name of the living Lord your God, I swear that I don’t have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour and a little olive oil. I’m on my way home now with these few sticks to cook what I have for my son and me. After that, we will starve to death.”
13 Elijah said, “Everything will be fine. Do what you said. Go home and fix something for you and your son. But first, please make a small piece of bread and bring it to me. 14 The Lord God of Israel has promised that your jar of flour won’t run out and your bottle of oil won’t dry up before he sends rain for the crops.”
15 The widow went home and did exactly what Elijah had told her. She and Elijah and her family had enough food for a long time. 16 The Lord kept the promise that his prophet Elijah had made, and she did not run out of flour or oil.
Elijah Brings a Boy Back to Life
17 Several days later, the son of the woman who owned the house[l] got sick, and he kept getting worse, until finally he died.
18 The woman shouted at Elijah, “What have I done to you? I thought you were God’s prophet. Did you come here to cause the death of my son as a reminder that I’ve sinned against God?”[m]
19 “Bring me your son,” Elijah said. Then he took the boy from her arms and carried him upstairs to the room where he was staying. Elijah laid the boy on his bed 20 and prayed, “Lord God, why did you do such a terrible thing to this woman? She’s letting me stay here, and now you’ve let her son die.” 21 Elijah stretched himself out over the boy three times, while praying, “Lord God, bring this boy back to life!”
22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer, and the boy started breathing again. 23 Elijah picked him up and carried him downstairs. He gave the boy to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive.”
24 “You are God’s prophet!” the woman replied. “Now I know that you really do speak for the Lord.”
- 15.4,5 Uriah: A Hittite who served in David’s army; David had him killed so he could marry his wife Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11.1-27).
- 15.8 Jerusalem: See the note at 2.10,11.
- 15.12 prostitutes: See the note at 14.24.
- 15.13 queen mother: Or “the mother of the king,” an important position in biblical times (see 2.19).
- 15.18 Benhadad: Hebrew “Benhadad son of Tabrimmon son of Hezion.”
- 15.24 Jerusalem: Hebrew “the city of David his ancestor.”
- 16.2 Nobody. . . you: Hebrew “I pulled you up out of the dust.”
- 16.31 Sidon: One of the most important cities in Phoenicia. It was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of Israel, in what is today southern Lebanon.
- 16.33 sacred pole: See the note at 14.15.
- 16.34 a man from Bethel. . . ago: See Joshua 6.26.
- 17.1 from Tishbe in Gilead: Or “from the settlers in Gilead.”
- 17.17 the woman who owned the house: This may or may not be the same woman as the widow in verses 8-16.
- 17.18 Did you. . . God: In ancient times people sometimes thought that if they sinned, something terrible would happen to them.