1 Kings 16:17
Then Omri and all the Israelites marched up from Gibbethon and besieged Tirzah.
A Divine Judgment and its InstrumentJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 16:8-20
The Kingdom of MenJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 16:15-22

Though "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men," yet is He not responsible for the principles by which such kingdoms are actuated. For these are in shaking contrast to those which shall obtain in the "kingdom of God." In the kingdom of men as represented in the specimen before us we encounter -


1. True religion is pure wisdom.

(1) It is the "wisdom of God" revealed - outwardly, in His word - inwardly, by being written by His Spirit in the heart.

(2) To encourage this is man's highest wisdom. Godliness has promise of this life - of that to come.

2. False religion is supreme folly.

(1) It is in some respects even worse than no religion. It is more than a negation in respect to truth; it is pertinacious antagonism to truth.

(2) It is folly in relation to the highest interests of man. It demoralizes in the proportion of its ascendancy. It forfeits the heaven it professes to seek. It aggravates the hell it professes to avoid.

(3) It expresses itself in vanity. What more vain than the idols of the heathen? The very forms of those idols evince the monstrosity of folly. Witness a monkey or an onion for a God; a fish with a man's head; a satyr; a griffin! (see Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 41:29.)

3. Of such folly was the kingdom of Israel flagrantly guilty.

(1) The calves with which they so deeply sinned were introduced by the kingcraft of Jeroboam.

(2) They are maintained by the kingcraft of all his successors, of whatever dynasty. Even Zimri, who only reigned seven days, and in those days was occupied in exterminating the house of Baasha, yet found time to pronounce himself in their favour.

(3) What a substitute for the Lord God of Israel who brought them up out of the land of Egypt!


1. Witnessed in frequent dynastic changes.

(1) The house of Jeroboam lasted twenty-four years. This gave place to that of Baasha, which lasted twenty-six. Zimri wore the crown seven days. Then came a four years' struggle for it between Omri and Tibni. At length "Tibni died and Omri reigned."

2. These changes represented strong passions.

(1) There was the impatience of the rule of the house of David which resulted in the revolution in favour of Jeroboam. Yet so little did they benefit by the change, that when Baasha destroyed that house they accepted, without a murmur, the rule of the regicide.

(2) But when Zimri treated the house of Baasha as Baasha had treated that of Jeroboam, they did not accept the second regicide. They now evinced some sense of right and wrong; but it was a wayward sense. There was no inquiry after the will of God. The army set up Omri, their general; but the civilians, apparently, chose Tibni. Here was a confusion which lasted until the death of one competitor.

3. These commotions were sanguinary.

(1) The division of the nation into two kingdoms induced civil war.

(2) Civil war also attended the treason of Zimri. For the army was occupied with the siege of Gibbethon when the news of this treason reached them, which determined them to raise the siege and invest Tirzah instead. The capture of Tirzah was not unbloody. A desperate character like Zimri would not tamely yield, when, rather than fall into the hands of Omri, he burnt the palace over his head and perished in the flames.

(3) The competition for the crown between Omri and Tibni protracted the civil war four years. Omri is not said to have resigned until the "thirty-first year of Asa, whereas Zimri's treason occurred in the twenty-seventh year of Asa," upon which Omri was chosen by the army. (Compare vers. 15 and 23.) The difference here is about four years.


1. Foremost under this head is idolatry.

(1) We mentioned this under the head of "folly," but it is not thereby removed from the category of "crime." Idolatry is the grossest and most direct insult to the living God.

(2) Hence no crime is in Scripture more heavily denounced and more signally obnoxious to punishment.

2. Next comes the capital crime of murder.

(1) As idolatry is the highest affront to God, so is murder the greatest offence against man.

(2) The crown of Israel was deeply stained with the blood of murder - with that of the house of Jeroboam; with that of the house of Baasha.

(3) Suicide also disgraced these violent times. And the note is significant that in his suicide Zimri perished "for his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did to make Israel to sin" (vers. 18, 19). Note: Men with their own hands may punish their sin. What a contrast is the kingdom of God! Its principles are peace, righteousness, and joy. Of this those have the earnest who in heart accept Jesus as their Melchisedec. - J.A.M.

Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.
Few personages in Holy Scripture appear to have commenced their career with more decided promise of good, and more energetic measures against evil, than Asa, King of Judah. Asa was the third of those princes of the house of David, whom God, though for the sins of Solomon He had alienated ten tribes from their sway, permitted for His ancient servant's sake to retain a throne and a name. Asa was preserved pure amid the corruptions of his age; and his acts immediately on ascending the throne, and for a large portion of his life, showed, not merely that his heart was not perverted to idols — that is, was in this sense perfect before the Lord — but that he leaned on Him, and found Him to be his Strength and his Redeemer. When ten years are over, we find that great change has passed upon Asa. Hostilities are threatened at the hands of Baasha, King of Israel. That prince is building a fortress on his very frontier. His purpose cannot be mistaken. It is to check the growing intercourse between Asa's subjects and his own. Asa is naturally alarmed; but in his alarm he seeks not God — he seeks a human, a heathen ally. He bribes the King of Syria., with his own treasures and the treasures of the temple, to break an existing league with Baasha, and invade the north-eastern provinces of Israel. A diversion is thus effected; for Baasha is summoned from his scheme of offence by tidings that the whole of the coast of Gennesaret is being wasted by fire and sword. Asa improves his opportunity. He destroys the rising fortress, Ramah, and applies to the strengthening of two cities for himself the materials prepared by the enemy. Yes, he has repelled the danger, but he has incurred a greater danger. He has made God his enemy, for he has not trusted in Him as his friend. How strange, how very mournful, that he who for more than a quarter of a century had led men to God, should at length have himself turned from Him; that he who, by his life and reign, had preached to others, should himself be a castaway! And is it indeed so? Hanani the prophet has come to remonstrate with him; and his remonstrance, truly though severely kind, must surely move him. Alas! Asa's heart is hardened. The voice of honesty grates harshly on him; he is wroth with the prophet; he even imprisons him. And the sacred historian adds, "He oppressed some of the people at the same time"; it may be, because they reminded him of the oath which they had sworn at his bidding, and in which he had bound himself, that God should be their God. A few more years pass on, of which we read nothing, but of which we must fear much. Asa is now stretched on his sick-bed; a lingering disease is wasting him; at length, it is exceeding great. Two or three years he lies in deep agony, yet he never thinks of God; he "seeks not to the Lord, but to the physicians." Is no more said of him than this? Does no repentance for his evil deeds come upon him? No remembrance of his youthful faith, and of the way in which it was rewarded, flash upon him? Does no light illume the chamber of death? No fear of what is beyond death appal him? He had long ceased to live by faith, and he does not die in faith. To the words, "he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians," succeeds the simple announcement, "and Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one-and-fortieth year of his reign." He died. He died, and was buried in his own sepulchre, which he had provided for the body, however much he had neglected his soul. He was buried with great honour in the city of David. He was buried "with an empire's lamentation." But what was all this, unless we have reason to suppose that angels received his soul, and conveyed it into Abraham's bosom, there to abide till the resurrection? But what were the causes of his fall? Scripture is silent on this point; we may, however, discover two or three of them.

1. He was tried, in the first place, by great success. People are inclined to think that success is no trial. They are much mistaken. Nothing is more liable to produce self-confidence, and neglect of Him who bestoweth on the wise their wisdom, and on the strong their strength. Unless a man watches himself very narrowly, pride will insinuate itself even into the midst of his thanksgivings; complacent thoughts of his own foresight underlie his recognition of God's providence; convictions of his own good desert qualify his confessions of sin. Idols had bowed at Asa's word. Profligacy had shrunk abashed from his presence. The appointments of the temple had risen to fresh splendour on his opening the doors of his treasury. The ancient renown of his people had revived under his sway. The borders of his kingdom had been extended by his policy. He had spoken, and cities long dismantled had resumed their coronal of towers. He had led out his armies, and barbarians had fled before him. Whatever he had taken in hand, the Lord had made it to prosper. This was at length too much for him. He dwelt on his wisdom, it became foolishness — on his strength, and it turned to weakness; in a word, he forgot God, who, as He had raised him up, had power to cast him down.

2. But mark a second point in which Asa was tried, and having been tried was found wanting. He was placed in the perilous position of having to guide and instruct others — to provide for their spiritual welfare — to correct whatever tendencies he discovered towards vice or towards idolatry. Now, little as we are accustomed so to view it, this is a great snare to any one. The mother, who teaches her child to pray; the father, who watches over his son's moral progress; the master, who is a strict censor of the behaviour of his servants; the Scripture reader, the district visitor, the nurse of the sick, the almoner of the poor; yea, even the minister of God who has professionally to bring before his people the means of grace and the hopes of glory, the right use of the one, and the sober entertainment of the other; these persons are all of them in danger of neglecting themselves; of placing themselves, as it were, ab extra, to the duties which they have to inculcate; of losing their interest in them as things in which they have a deep personal concernment. Such persons are tempted then in the contemplation of their works, to forget themselves, to abate their self-discipline, and, when the novelty of their employment has passed away, to fall back upon other things; it may be, to end with languor, disgust, or carelessness, if not with utter faithlessness and sin. Gradually, indeed, and very slowly, such lethargy may creep over the soul; as gradually as the fumes of the chafing-dish overpower the senses of the sleeper, or as the deathlike chill of the mountain steals over the weary traveller, and lulls him into a slumber from which there is no awakening — but like these, it is subtle, silent, fatal. It is only sure-walking that is safe-walking. To be sure we must not be secure, we must be careful; carefulness is the earnest of safety; carefulness, whose maxim is, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall"; carefulness, which, in the words of our Litany, petitions the Almighty for deliverance not merely in the "time of tribulation," but in the "time of wealth."

(J. A. Heasey, D. C. L).

Abiram, Ahab, Arza, Asa, Baasha, Elah, Ethbaal, Ginath, Hanani, Hiel, Israelites, Jehu, Jeroboam, Jezebel, Joram, Joshua, Nebat, Nun, Omri, Segub, Shemer, Sidonians, Tibni, Tirzah, Zidon, Zidonians, Zimri
Bethel, Gibbethon, Jericho, Samaria, Tirzah
Army, Attack, Besieged, Gibbethon, Gib'bethon, Israelites, Laid, Lay, Omri, Shutting, Siege, Tirzah, Town, Withdrew
1. Jehu's prophecy against Baasha
5. Elah succeeds him
8. Zimri, conspiring against Elah, succeeds him
11. Zimri executes Jehu's prophecy
15. Omri, made king by the soldiers, forces Zimri desperately to burn himself
21. The kingdom being divided, Omri prevails against Tibni
23. Omri builds Samaria
25. His wicked reign
27. Ahab succeeds him
29. Ahab's most wicked reign
34. Joshua's curse upon Hiel the builder of Jericho

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 16:15-18

     5276   crime

1 Kings 16:17-18

     5256   city

Whether the Mode of virtue Falls under the Precept of the Law?
Objection 1: It would seem that the mode of virtue falls under the precept of the law. For the mode of virtue is that deeds of justice should be done justly, that deeds of fortitude should be done bravely, and in like manner as to the other virtues. But it is commanded (Dt. 26:20) that "thou shalt follow justly after that which is just." Therefore the mode of virtue falls under the precept. Objection 2: Further, that which belongs to the intention of the lawgiver comes chiefly under the precept.
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether a Man Can be Saved Without Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that no man can be saved without Baptism. For our Lord said (Jn. 3:5): "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." But those alone are saved who enter God's kingdom. Therefore none can be saved without Baptism, by which a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost. Objection 2: Further, in the book De Eccl. Dogm. xli, it is written: "We believe that no catechumen, though he die in his good works, will have eternal life, except
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether There Can be any Suitable Cause for the Sacraments of the Old Law?
Objection 1: It would seem that there can be no suitable cause for the sacraments of the Old Law. Because those things that are done for the purpose of divine worship should not be like the observances of idolaters: since it is written (Dt. 12:31): "Thou shalt not do in like manner to the Lord thy God: for they have done to their gods all the abominations which the Lord abhorreth." Now worshippers of idols used to knive themselves to the shedding of blood: for it is related (3 Kings 18:28) that they
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether a Vow Consists in a Mere Purpose of the Will?
Objection 1: It would seem that a vow consists in nothing but a purpose of the will. According to some [*William of Auxerre, Sum. Aur. III, xxviii, qu. 1; Albertus Magnus, Sent. iv, D, 38], "a vow is a conception of a good purpose after a firm deliberation of the mind, whereby a man binds himself before God to do or not to do a certain thing." But the conception of a good purpose and so forth, may consist in a mere movement of the will. Therefore a vow consists in a mere purpose of the will. Objection
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Whoever is Perfect is in the State of Perfection?
Objection 1: It would seem that whoever is perfect is in the state of perfection. For, as stated above (A[3], ad 3), just as bodily perfection is reached by bodily growth, so spiritual perfection is acquired by spiritual growth. Now after bodily growth one is said to have reached the state of perfect age. Therefore seemingly also after spiritual growth, when one has already reached spiritual perfection, one is in the state of perfection. Objection 2: Further, according to Phys. v, 2, movement "from
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether after the Resurrection Every one Will Know what Sins He Has Committed?
Objection 1: It seems that after the resurrection everyone will not be able to know all the sins he has committed. For whatever we know, either we receive it anew through the senses, or we draw it from the treasure house of the memory. Now after the resurrection men will be unable to perceive their sins by means of sense, because they will be things of the past, while sense perceives only the present: and many sins will have escaped the sinner's memory, and he will be unable to recall them from the
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Sennacherib (705-681 B. C. )
The struggle of Sennacherib with Judaea and Egypt--Destruction of Babylon. Sennacherib either failed to inherit his father's good fortune, or lacked his ability.* He was not deficient in military genius, nor in the energy necessary to withstand the various enemies who rose against him at widely removed points of his frontier, but he had neither the adaptability of character nor the delicate tact required to manage successfully the heterogeneous elements combined under his sway. * The two principal
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 8

The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
Assur-nazir-pal (885-860) and Shalmaneser III. (860-825)--The kingdom of Urartu and its conquering princes: Menuas and Argistis. Assyria was the first to reappear on the scene of action. Less hampered by an ancient past than Egypt and Chaldaea, she was the sooner able to recover her strength after any disastrous crisis, and to assume again the offensive along the whole of her frontier line. Image Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief at Koyunjik of the time of Sennacherib. The initial cut,
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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