1 Kings 16:29-33
And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel…
The evil genius of the son of Omri appeared -
I. IN HIS WALKING IN THE SINS OF JEROBOAM.
1. In this, probably, he encouraged his father.
(1) He appears to have been associated with Omri in the kingdom. Omri reigned twelve years - viz., six in Tirzah, and six in Samaria; but his reign commenced "in the thirty-first year of Asa" (ver. 23). This would bring the close of his reign to the second year of Jehoshaphat, whereas in the text we read that "in the thirty and eighth year of Asa, king of Judah, began Ahab, the son of Omri, to reign over Israel." Hence it is evident Ahah must have been four or five years associated with his father in the throne.
(2) The extreme wickedness with which Omri is charged was probably owing to Ahab's evil influence; for the "statutes of Omri" seem to have been inspired by the "counsels of Ahab" (see Micah 6:16). So the note that "he sinned above all that were before him" is alike applied to the father and son (see verses 25, 30). And the leading influence of Ahab may explain why we commonly read of the "house of Ahab" rather than of the house of Omri. Parents are often demoralized by wicked children.
2. He did not alter his course after his father's death.
(1) The sin of Jeroboam was perpetuated in Israel down to the time of their captivity. The captivity seemed necessary to break its power over them. Judgment is the last resource of mercy.
(2) The same reasons of state continued to influence the successive rulers of the nation. Reasons of state are too often more potent than reasons of piety and righteousness. Else we had been spared the discredit of wicked wars, wicked laws, wicked trading.
II. IN HIS MATRIMONIAL ALLIANCE WITH JEZEBEL.
1. She was a pronounced idolater.
(1) She was a Zidonian, and for any Israelite to marry one of that nation were a violation of the law of God (Exodus 34:11-16; Deuteronomy 7:3; Joshua 23:11-13). For a king of Israel to do this was the more reprehensible. Office brings responsibilities.
(2) These people were worshippers of strange gods, and in particular of Baal. Hence the name of this queen (איזבל), which may be derived from איזה, where? and בל, a contraction of בעל, Baal, thus: Where is Baal? q.d., a seeker of Baal. Hence also her father's name (אתבעל), Ethbaal, which Gesenius construes to denote, "Living with Baal, i.e., enjoying the favour and help of Baal."
2. Such alliances have ever proved demoralizing.
(1) The giants (נפליס), monsters, viz., in wickedness, perhaps, rather than in stature, whose violence provoked the judgment of the deluge, were the issue of marriages between the "sons of God," or holy race of Seth, and the "daughters of men," or profane descendants of Cain (Genesis 6:1-4).
(2) Solomon's heathen wives and concubines made a fool of the wisest of men, and brought his house and nation into infinite trouble (1 Kings 11:1-13).
(3) The history of this alliance also was most disastrous.
3. For typical reasons also they were forbidden.
(1) The marriage union should represent the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:32). Therefore a husband, that he may justly represent Christ, is bound to be holy; and so is his wife, that she may suitably represent the Church.
(2) Should the reverse happen, then is the woman an emblem of an apostate Church, of which the husband represents the Antichristian head (see 1 Corinthians 6:15, 16). Jezebel, accordingly, is viewed in this light in the imagery of the Apocalypse (see Revelation 2:20).
III. IN HIS ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN TO BAAL AND ASHERE.
1. To Baal.
(1) To this god he built a temple in Samaria. This was the more audacious since, being placed in his capital, it seemed to vie with the temple of the Lord in the capital of Judah.
(2) To Baal also he reared an altar there. This, of course, meant a service of priests and sacrifices.
(3) Furthermore he himself worshipped Baal. Thus he gave the influence of his position to the encouragement of this idolatry. That influence was therefore also given to discourage the pure worship of the God of Israel.
2. To Ashsere.
(1) This word is construed "grove" in the text as elsewhere. But a little reflection will teach us that groves do not spring up in a day. Beside, it is not here said that Ahab planted (נטע), but that he made (עשה) the Ashere.
(2) The Ashere was a Canaanitish idol, probably of the figure of a goat, in the worship of which there appear to have been very abominable rites. No wonder, then, the anger of the Lord should be provoked. If we would not provoke it we must avoid the spirit of idolatry. This spirit is shown in the love of illicit things. Also in excessive love of lawful things. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.