In the thirty-first year of Asa's reign over Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah.
I. IN HIS PALACES.
1. "Six years reigned he in Tirzah."
(1) This was once a lovely palace. Beautiful for its situation like Jerusalem (Song of Solomon 6:4), and beautified during the reign in it of all the earlier kings of Israel. For it was the third and last palace built by Jeroboam, the first of these kings, to which he removed from his palace at Penuel.
(2) But it was now damaged by fire. When Zimri shut himself up in it as his defences were driven in by the forces of Omri in the siege of the city, he set it on fire and perished in the conflagration. Thus in a moment the labour of years was demolished. Destruction is easier than construction. This principle also holds in morals.
(3) Still for six years Omri held his court in this city. Whether he occupied a portion of the palace which escaped the flames, or resided temporarily elsewhere in the city, is not revealed. The omissions of Scripture are instructive. Things of minor importance must not be allowed to divert attention from momentous things.
2. Six years he reigned in Samaria.
(1) The origin of this new capital is here recorded (ver. 24). Seven hundred pounds of our money seems a small price for a hill considerable enough to be the site for the capital of a kingdom. (Compare 1 Chronicles 26:25: 600 shekels of gold = £1,095.) Perhaps Shemei was animated by public spirit when he disposed of his hill for so trifling a sum. Perhaps he did so to perpetuate his name. His motive is withheld from us. Herein also is instruction. We are not judges of the motives of our fellows. God surveys the motives of all hearts.
(2) Henceforth Samaria figures prominently in the history of Israel. It gives its name to the middle portion of Canaan. Tirzah, Penuel, Shechem, are henceforth little heard off Men give importance to places rather than places to men. The importance even of heaven will be rather that of its inhabitants than of its situation. Learn the paramount value of spiritual qualities,
II. AT THE ALTAR.
1. "He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam."
(1) This means that he encouraged the worship of the calves, if not that he even appeared at the altar as high priest (see 1 Kings 12:33; 1 Kings 13:1).
(2) It means further that he was moved by the same state policy. He desired to keep his people from Jerusalem lest they should repent of their revolution from the house of David.
(3) Note: Satan has his opportunities. While the pride of Israel smarted under the insolence of Rehoboam, Jeroboam could impose his calves upon them. Had he missed that opportunity, it might have been impossible afterwards to have effected his purpose. Omri could not have done it. We should be wise as serpents, viz., in avoiding the snare of the devil, in availing ourselves of our opportunities for good.
2. He "did worse than all that were before him."
(1) He "made Israel to sin" as Jeroboam did, persuading them to halt at Bethel or visit Dan, for that Jerusalem was too far from them. Persuading them also that his calves were images of the true God (see 1 Kings 12:28).
(2) He bound them by statute to worship the calves (compare Micah 6:16). In this he went farther than Baasha, who had set about building Ramah to prevent the people from going to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 16:1).
III. IN HIS EXIT.
1. He "was buried."
(1) He had a state funeral. Money might procure that. He left a son to succeed him on the throne who would pay this public respect to his remains.
(2) How variously is the same subject viewed by men in the flesh, and by the inhabitants of the spiritual world! The funeral of the corpse is the event upon earth; the destiny of the spirit is the event yonder.
2. He "slept with his fathers."
(1) This expression does not mean that he was buried with them in their sepulchre, for Omri was buried in Samaria, a city which had no existence in the days of his fathers. Of Baasha also it is said that he "slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah" (ver. 6), though there is no evidence that any of his fathers were buried in Tirzah.
(2) It seems to import that he died upon his bed, as the generality of mankind finish their course. This expression does not appear to be used when any die by the hand of violence as a judgment of the Lord upon their sin.
(3) Yet a violent death was deserved by Omri, as it was also by Baasha and Jeroboam, who, like him, came peacefully to the grave. They laid up sin for their posterity (see Job 21:19). But are they thus to escape the punishment of their own iniquity 2 Surely there must be a "judgment to come!" - J.A.M.
So Tibni died, and Omri reigned.
1. Tibni and Omri are both living in the persons of those who divide public opinion respecting themselves. Is there any man living with whom everybody is satisfied? Take a Christian minister — any minister in this great London, and see how public opinion is divided about him. To one set of men he is the supreme human teacher; to another set of men he is almost unfit to be in the pulpit at all. Take a statesman; to one class he is the salvation of the kingdom, to another he is an empiric, a traitor, or in some degree a political rascal. Take any friend in social life; to one man he is an idol, to another he is bore. There are great moral lessons coming out of these simple facts. Society will always be divided about its leading men; but let us insist that there may be difference without bitterness, and that you may make one man king without taking away the character and perhaps the life of his rival. Let us pray God to show us the best points in every man s character.
2. Tibni still lives in the man who comes very near being a king but just misses the throne. Half the people in the camp were in his favour. In some of the popular shouts you could hardly tell whether Tibni or Omri was the uppermost name. Now the one seemed to fill the whole wind and now the other. The men themselves did not know for certain which of them was to have the crown. Let us see if there be not a good deal of our own life in this apparently remote and uninteresting fact. Whatever you strive for most anxiously in life is the crown to you, because it is the thing you want beyond all others. Sometimes it is so near! You feel as if you could put out your hand and take it! And yet though so near, it is so far, like a star trembling in a pool. Here we come upon the very first lines of Providence, and the finer the lines the subtler the temptation. We are tempted to step over some lines; it seems right that we should do so; we say we ought to take advantage of our good fortune, and if God has come so near He means us to take the one last step. It is just there that many a man suffers the supreme trial of his faith and the supreme agony of his sensibilities. We have referred to the supreme trial of a man's sensibilities; let us explain our meaning. We often say of this man or that, How narrowly he escapes being a great man! There is only one thing wanting, one element, one force, one virtue — one thing thou lackest, one thing is needful! And the man himself is tormented by a sense of greatness which is always nearing the point of royalty but never absolutely reaching it. He feels that the great poem which would give him literary immortality is breathing within him and around him, but the moment he puts pen to paper the inspiration ceases and will not harden into words. He has m him strange wild dreamings of power; he can write a book, he can found a new school of philosophy, he can illumine the whole horizon of theology, he can save the State; innumerable things he attempts and completes in his dreams, but the day of execution never dawns! It is in such men that Tibni still lives; in disappointed hearts, in blighted hopes, in brilliant prospects overcast, in kingdoms made of cloud, in castles built in air.
3. Omri still lives in those who turn great powers and great openings to dishonourable and unholy uses. Omri got the throne. For twelve years he reigned in Israel, six of them in Tirzah. His rival died, and he was left in undisputed sovereignty. But his way was not honourable before the Lord. "Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him." Some providences seem to be altogether thrown away, and we stand aghast at the destruction, saying, "Why was this waste made?" Great talents are made to serve the devil; great voices of song are never heard in the sanctuary; noble powers of speech are dumb when the righteous cause has to be pleaded. Application:
(1) (2) (J. Parker, D. D.)
(2) (J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
PeopleAbiram, 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
PlacesBethel, Gibbethon, Jericho, Samaria, Tirzah
TopicsAsa, Judah, Omri, Reign, Reigned, Ruling, Six, Thirty, Thirty-first, Tirzah, Twelve
Outline1. 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 Themes1 Kings 16:21-22
LibraryWhether 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?
Whether There Can be any Suitable Cause for the Sacraments of the Old Law?
Whether a Vow Consists in a Mere Purpose of the Will?
Whether Whoever is Perfect is in the State of Perfection?
Whether after the Resurrection Every one Will Know what Sins He Has Committed?
Sennacherib (705-681 B. C. )
The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
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