The Kingdom of Men
1 Kings 16:15-22
In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon…

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.

Parallel Verses
KJV: In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.

WEB: In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. Now the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.

The House of Baasha
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