Abijam, Asa, & Ahab

I Kings chapters 15 and 16

18th year of King Jeroboam (son of Nebat):

Son of Micaiah (the granddaughter of Absalom), Abijam begins his reign over Judah but continues the sins of his father, Rehoboam. There is also warring between Abijam (Judah) and Jeroboam of Israel. Abijam reign ends at his death and he is buried in the City of David. In the 20th year of Jeroboam, Abijam’s son (and also son of Micaiah), Asa now reigns.

Asa reigns for 41 years and does right in the eyes of the Lord—he does away with the male cult prostitutes, removes the idols of his fathers’, and denounces his mother from her title as “queen mother”, with her image made for Asherah, burning it by the brook Kidron. He brings the dedicated temple furnishings into the Temple.

War continues with Baasha, king of Israel, who builds an impasse at Ramah. Transferring the temple treasures to him, Asa makes a defence pact with Ben-hadad (son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion) king of Syria in Damascus. Ben-hadad’s army smites Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali, forcing Baasha to quit building up Ramah, returning instead to Tirzah. The people of Judah disassemble the fortification at Ramah and build with that timber and stone Geba of Benjamin and also Mizpah.

The aging Asa suffers from a disease of the feet. He dies and is buried in the city of David. Jehoshaphat his son reigns in his stead. Meanwhile, Nadab (son of Jeroboam) begins his reign over Israel, in the second year of Asa king of Judah. Nadab reigns for two years and also does evil in the sight of the Lord. In the third year of Asa’s reign, Baasha (son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar) conspires against and smites Nadab as the latter lays siege of the Philistine’s’ Gibbethon.

Baasha immediately kills all of the house of Jeroboam (see Ahijah the Shilonite’s prophesy, I Kings 14:9-16). In Asa’s third year Baasha begins a 24-year reign over Israel, from Tirzah. But he too does evil in the sight of the Lord.

16 Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,

Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;

Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.

Baasha dies and is buried in Tirzah. Elah his son reigns in his stead. In the 26th year of Asa king of Judah, Elah (son of Baasha) began his two-year reign over Israel in Tirzah. But in the 27th year of Asa (king of Judah) his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, kills the drunk Elah whilst at the house of Arza, then reigning in his stead. Now Zimri immediately kills the entire house of Baasha, all male kinsmen and friends (I Kings 16:3). And Zimri reigns for only seven days in Tirzah, as the troops were encamped against Gibbethon.

That day in camp, after hearing news of the slaying of the king, all of Israel make Omri, commander of the army, king—and they proceed to besiege instead, Tirzah. Fearing his own demise, the treasonous Zimri sets up a pyre in the king’s house and self-immolates. This leaves Israel again divided: half the people follow Tibni (son of Ginath) and half follow Omri.

In the 31st year of Asa king of Judah, Omri begins his reign of 12 years over Israel, reigning 6 years in Tirzah. He buys the hill Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and builds a fortified city thereon, calling it Samaria (Shomeron), after its owner. But Omri also does evil in the sight of the Lord and even worse than all who were before him. On his death he too is buried in Samaria and Ahab, his son (in the 38th year of Asa king of Judah), reigns in his stead for 22 years over Israel in Samaria. Also inclined to evil, Ahab compounds the problem by taking for a wife Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and with that serves and worships Baal, erecting such an altar in Samaria. And he made Asherah, provoking the Lord more than all the kings of Israel before him.

34 In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.

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