1 Kings 16:9
However, while Elah was in Tirzah getting drunk in the house of Arza the steward of his household there, Elah's servant Zimri, the commander of half his chariots, conspired against him.
Elah, Zimri, and ArzaJ. Parker, D. D.1 Kings 16:8-10
The House of BaashaJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 16:8-14
A Divine Judgment and its InstrumentJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 16:8-20

The character of Baasha is drawn in the paragraphs immediately preceding, which also contain an account of his end, which was better than he deserved, and suggests the reality of a future retribution. His family so fully followed in his steps that we have no mention of an Abijah amongst them, "in whom was found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel" (see 1 Kings 14:18). The judgment of God upon this wicked house is written in the words before us. We have to reflect upon -


1. The prophecy of Jehu came to them as a warning.

(1) Such is the nature of this class of prophecies. The threatenings of God, like His promises, are conditional. So, had they repented, the judgments denounced would have been removed or moderated.

(2) Of this principle the Scriptures furnish many illustrations. Take, e.g., the argument of Abraham's prayer for Sodom and its success (Genesis 18:23-32). See the effect of. the contrition of Ahab (1 Kings 21:27-29). How the judgment of the Lord upon Nineveh was averted through their humiliation before God (Jonah 3:4.).

(3) This prophecy, therefore, came in mercy, as a respite, to give space for repentance. Else judgment might have fallen without remonstrance, as it did in the issue. By timely repentance and reformation let us seek to avert all threatened judgments.

2. But here was no repentance.

(1) Elah walked in the steps of his father. He followed the sin of Jeroboam. Their idolatries are called "vanities." The gods they worshipped could neither profit nor help them. "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord." Miserable, those whose gods are vanities!

(2) Moreover Elah abandoned himself to sensuality. See him in Tirzah, a palace beautifully situated (Song of Solomon 6:4), where he might have found innocent and rational enjoyment. But there he is in the apartments of Arza, his major domo, drunk! What a condition for a king!

(3) What a condition for a nation, to be ruled by such a king! The Ephrathites had reason to repent of their revolution. They did not improve upon the house of David. Revolutionists have generally found their dreams of a political Paradise illusory.

(4) The wisdom of Christians would be to make the best of the political system they may inherit, and pray for the speedy coming of the kingdom of Christ. This was the spirit of Paul's exhortations, even when such a monster as Nero ruled the kingdoms of the world (see Romans 13:1; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2; Titus 3:1; also 1 Peter 2:18, 17).


1. The wicked follow their own devices.

(1) Zimri had an ambition to reign. Such an ambition is not uncommon. Few can ascend the throne of a kingdom. But there are tyrants on the magisterial bench, in the factory, in the shop, in the mansion, in the college.

(2) Zimri had also a desperate resolution to bend circumstances to his object. His rank as a cavalry officer, commanding half the chariots of Elah, gave him access to the palace. There, finding his lord helplessly drunk, he sacrificed gratitude and duty, and struck the fatal blow. What a warning to drunkards! Death is especially terrible when it surprises the sinner in his sin (see Luke 21:34).

(3) With infernal promptitude Zimri proceeded to slaughter the whole of the seed royal. In the massacre he involved also the "kinsfolk and friends," so as to leave no rival to contest the throne.

(4) But how little did he dream, after wading through this sea of blood, that his reign should be limited to a single week! How disproportionate was the end to the means! If men could duly estimate the end, how it would lead them to hesitate over the employment of the means!

2. But the providence of God is over all.

(1) God foresaw everything. This is evident in the word of prophecy. And He so controlled the actors that the results answered the ends of justice. This also is evident in the same word.

(2) But this did not excuse the wickedness of the executioners. God allows the wicked to punish each other for Him. So makes He the wrath of man to praise Him (see 2 Kings 9:31).

(3) He has better work for His saints. To bless is more congenial to them than to destroy. The ambition of the spiritual is too noble to be satisfied with an earthly crown, or to pay its price. - J.A.M.

Elah... Zimri... Arza.
There was once a king in Israel called Elah. He reigned over Israel in Tirzah two years. He had a servant called Zimri who was a captain of his chariots. Zimri was a born traitor. Treachery was in his very blood. In the case of Elah, Zimri had a marked advantage; for Elah was a drunken fool. He was in the habit of visiting the house of another of his servants, a steward called Arza, and there he had what drink he asked for; and he asked for a good deal, so much so that he was often drunk in his servant's house, and on one of these occasions, Zimri went in and killed him, and reigned in his stead. These are the facts which we have to deal with. Are they very ancient, or are they happening round about us every day?

1. Elah lives in every man who has great chances or opportunities in life, but allows them to slip away through one leak in the character. Elah was a king, and the son of a king, so his openings in life were wide and splendid; but he loved strong drink, and through that leak in his character all that might have made him a man oozed away, and left him a king in nothing but the barren name. Strong drink will ruin any man. What is true of this leak in a man's character is true of every other. Take indecision for example, or idleness, or love of company, or devotion to pleasure. A great merchant once said to me of a certain man in his employment, "I would to-morrow give that man a thousand a year to begin with, if he could do one thing, and that is, hold his tongue; but he would no sooner get the appointment than he would go into an ale-house, and tell the whole company everything I am doing." There is the leak in the character, and it means ruin! It is astounding what one leak will do.

2. Zimri still lives in all persons who take advantage of the weaknesses of others. Zimri knew that Elah was a drunkard, and he further knew that through his habit of drunkenness alone he could reach the king. On every other side of his character Elah may have been a strong man: acute, shrewd, far-sighted; but when in drink, weak and foolish. And Zimri played his game accordingly. Some people trade on the weaknesses of others. They study them. Thy adapt themselves to them. They watch for striking time, and seldom miss the mark. How else could the net be always ready for the bird? How else the pit be always prepared for the unexpected and bewildered traveller? There is an infernal science in these things — a devil's black art!

3. And does not Arza still live in those who find the means whereby men may conceal their evil habits and indulge their unholy desires? They seem to say, "In my house you may do what you please. I shall not look at you. Come when you please; go when you like; I am nobody, if you like to call me so." My wonder is that any young man can keep his morals uncorrupted in a strange city. Houses of destruction are open in every street. How foolish, too, are the wicked! If they would devote their talents to some virtuous end they would attain honourable success, sweetened with a sense of honesty. They often have great talents, fine powers, large capacities, and if they gave themselves with ardour and energy to the pursuit of good ends they would outrun many, and gain a prize worthy and lasting.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

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
Arza, Captain, Charge, Chariots, Command, Commander, Conspire, Conspired, Controller, Designs, Drinking, Drunk, Drunkard, Elah, Getting, Half, Home, Household, King's, Officials, Palace, Plotted, Secret, Servant, Steward, Tirzah, War-carriages, Zimri
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 16:9

     4434   drinking
     4436   drinking, abstention

1 Kings 16:8-10

     5817   conspiracies

1 Kings 16:9-10

     5524   servants, bad

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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