I Kings 16
This division of chapters, immediately after the commencement of the narrative of
the reign of Baasha, is somewhat unfortunate, inasmuch as it obscures the close
connection between the sin of Baasha and the prophecy which it provoked. The
idea the historian would convey is clearly this — the analogy between the dynasty
of Jeroboam and that which supplanted it,
an analogy so close that the prophet Jehu [son of Hanani] (a different person
than the one in II Kings 9:2 – Jehu the son of Jehoshophat, who played a large
role during the time of Ahab) almost employs the ipsissima verba (the very words)
of his predecessor, Ahijah.
1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani” - Hanani
is mentioned in II Chronicles 16:7-10 as having admonished Asa, and as having
been thrown into prison for so doing. Both he and his son would seem to have
belonged to the
historian he became, and whom, consequently, he must have survived (Ibid. 20:34),
and Ahab. He is mentioned in the verse last cited as “made to ascend (margin)
in the book of the
over at least half a century - “against Baasha, saying,”
2 “Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust,” – these words imply a
lowly origin - “and
made thee prince over my people
no approval implied here of the means by which Baasha had raised himself to the
throne. All that is said is that he had been an instrument in God’s hands, and
owed his throne to God’s sanction and ordering. Even his conspiracy and cruelties
had been overruled to the furtherance of the Divine purpose - “and thou hast
walked in the way
of Jeroboam, and hast made my people
to provoke me to anger with their sins;”
3 “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. 4 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.”
It may be these words, like those of the next two verses, were almost a formula,
but if so, it is noticeable that precisely the same formula was used of Jeroboam
a few years before, and Baasha knew well how it had been accomplished.
All the prophets in succession have the same message from God for the
5 “Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might,
are they not
written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of
6 So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and
Elah his son reigned in his stead.”
7 “And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came
the word of the LORD against Baasha, and against his house, even
for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking
him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of
Jeroboam; and because he killed him.” This is a continuation of the
idea in v. 2. Baasha is punished for his sins. It was no chance that happened
to him. The excision of his house, like that of Jeroboam, was distinctly
The Reign of Elah (vs. 9-10)
8 “In the
twenty and sixth year of Asa king of
son of Baasha to reign over
Zimri,” - From the occurrence of this name among those of the descendants of
Jonathan (I Chronicles 8:36), it has been supposed that this was a last effort of the
house of Saul to regain the throne - “captain of half his chariots,” – the violation
of the law of Deuteronomy 17:16 brings its own retribution - “conspired
against him,” - precisely as Elah’s father had “conspired” (ch.15:27) against
Nadab - “as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the
house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.” Several points present them-
selves for notice here:
“The Lord’s anointed” is no longer had in reverence, as in the days of
David (I Samuel 24:6,10; 26:9,16; II Samuel 1:14), nor is it accounted
a sin to grasp at the crown.
place was clearly with his army at Gibbethon (v. 15; cf. Josephus, 8:12. 4).
The low tastes which we here find Elah indulging had probably been
formed before his father was exalted out of the dust.” As probably they
were inherited direct from his father. Anyhow, they led to his destruction.
It is clear that Elah’s want of character, like Nadab’s, suggested the
conspiracy of Zimri.
of the conspirators, and that the wretched prince had been decoyed to his
house and made drunk, with a view to his murder there.
The Reign of Zimri (vs. 11-20)
10 “And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and
seventh year of Asa king of
happened three times in the history of
in a new dynasty was its founder, and after his son and successor reigned two
years, the power passed into other hands. (ch. 15:28; II Kings 15:23)
11 And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on
his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one
that pisseth against a wall (a boy), neither of his kinsfolks,” - The laeGO
strictly the person to whom the right of redemption (Leviticus 25:26;
the book of Ruth) and
And this being the next of kin (Ruth 2:12-13), the word came to mean near
relative, kinsman, as here; (Ruth 2:20). All the same, it discloses to us
Zimri’s object, which was to destroy the avenger of blood - “nor of his
friends.” - Zimri went a step farther than Baasha had gone. He was not
content with extirpating the royal family, but put to death the partisans
of the house, all who would be likely to sympathize with Elah or to resent
12 “Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the
word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the
prophet.” The analogy is now complete.
13 “For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which
they sinned, and
by which they made
of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the
book of the
chronicles of the kings of
seventh year of Asa king of
Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which
belonged to the Philistines.” It has at first sight a suspicious look that two
been slain by conspirators during a siege of this place. But when the
narrative is examined, its probability and consistency become at once
apparent. Stanley assumes that the siege lasted over the whole of this
period, but it is more likely that when Baasha found himself king, he
discovered that he had domestic matters enough upon his hands, without a
foreign war, and so he raised the siege. It is very probable that he feared
opposition such as Zimri and Omri subsequently experienced. And his wars
with Asa and with
undertaking. On the accession of Elah, however, with the usual ambition
and impetuosity of youth, it was decided to recommence the siege and to
win this city back for
omen attaching to the place would not be forgotten, and this, as well as his
voluptuous habits, may have deterred the faineant Elah from besieging it in
person, while the conspiracy which marked the former siege may at the
same time have suggested to Zimri and others the thought of conspiring
16 “And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath
hath also slain the king: wherefore all
Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.”
It was hardly likely they would submit to the usurpation of Zimri. Not
only had he occupied a subordinate position, but his murder of all Elah’s
friends must have made him a host of enemies in the camp. It was the
natural thing for them, therefore, to turn to Omri. He had the advantage
of being in possession. The captain of the host stood next to the king
(II Kings 4:13; II Samuel 5:8; 19:13; 20:23), and twice stepped into his
place (II Kings 9:5). This history has many parallels in that of the Roman
“And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and
they besieged Tirzah.” It is probable that they arrived before the city on
the sixth or seventh day after the assassination of Elah. This period would
just allow sufficient time for the news of the conspiracy to travel to
Gibbethon and for the march of the army.
18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that
he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's
house over him with fire, and died. 19 For his sins which he sinned
in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of
and in his sin which he did, to make
20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought,
are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of
Israel?” These verses convey clearly enough that Zimri’s tragic death
was a retribution for his sins. It is also clear that in his reign of one week
Zimri cannot have done much to show his complicity in the schism of
Jeroboam, and it is probable that the sacred writer means that his character
and antecedents were such as to prove that all his sympathies were with the
irreligious party. All these events were the bitter fruits of Jeroboam’s
misguided and impious policy, into the spirit of which, Zimri, like his
predecessors, had been baptized. It is interesting to remember here
the aspect these repeated revolutions and assassinations would wear to the
cannot doubt for a moment that they were regarded as so many
manifestations of the righteous judgment of God, and as the outcomes of
that spirit of insubordination and impiety which, in their eyes, had brought
about both the division of the kingdom and the schism in the church.
The Interregnum (v. 21)
21 Then were the people
people followed Tibni the son of Ginath,” - With the hereditary principle
being overthrown, the crown appeared to be the legitimate prize of the
strongest; and Tibni, who may have occupied a position of importance,
or have had, somehow, a considerable following, resolved that Omri
should not wear it without a fierce contest – “to make him king; and
half followed Omri.” (This situation is suggestive of the condition
divisive issues, like in
separation of church and state issues – sin if you will, which is provoking
the wrath of God upon us also – (CY – 2010)
The Reign of Omri (vs. 22-28)
22 “But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that
followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.” It
appears from the following verse that the struggle lasted four years. It
was not until Tibni was slain that Omri became sole ruler. 23 “In the thirty
and first year of Asa king of
twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. 24 And he bought” - During
the four years of anarchy Omri would seem to have retained possession of
the capital which he had taken (ver. 18) on Zimri’s death. But the palace
being burnt and the defenses perhaps weakened by the siege, he determined,
rather than rebuild it, to found a capital elsewhere - “the hill
In his selection of Samaria for the seat of government, Omri acted with
singular judgment. It has been said that “Shechem is the natural capital of
Palestine,” and no doubt it enjoys a commanding position and great
with which no traveller can fail to be deeply impressed. It is a large oval or
oblong mound, with a level surface, adapted for buildings, with steep sides
to make its position impregnable, and surrounded by an amphitheatre of
invention of gunpowder have been almost impregnable. It stands some 400
feet above the valley, the sides of the hill being steep and terraced in every
direction for cultivation, or perhaps for defensive purposes.. broad and
open valleys stretch north and south, and the hill is thus almost isolated,”
Strategical reasons may be supposed to have dictated the choice of the
capital of Omri, for on the north the hill commands the main road to Jezreel
over a steep pass, on the west it dominates the road to the coast, and on the
east that to the
the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of
Shemer, owner of the
bargained that the land should retain his name (Psalm 49:11). The
reluctance of the Israelite to part with his patrimony, even to the king, is
brought out very strikingly in ch. 21 where it is possible that Ahab got his
idea to buy Naboth’s vineyard from this transaction. Shemer, in selling his
choice parcel of land for a capital, might well wish to connect his name with it.
The fact that ˆwOrm]vo means watch mountain (Gesen.), and that we should
have expected a name formed from Shemer to take the form Shimron —
Shomeron would strictly imply an original Shomer — is not by any means a
proof that our historian is at fault in his derivation. For, in the first place, the
names Shomer and Shemer are used of the same person in I Chronicles 7:32,
34. And secondly, nothing would be more in accordance with Jewish ideas
than that Omri, in naming the hill after its owner, should give a turn to the
word which would also express at the same time its characteristic feature.
A pun, or play upon word, was the form which wit assumed amongst the
Semitic races (as, indeed, is the case still, and the form Shomeron would at
once perpetuate the memory of Shemer, and express the hope and purpose
25 “But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse
than all that were before him.” It has been thought that Micah 6:16 (“the
statutes of Omri are kept”) points to a fresh departure from the Jewish faith;
to the organization of the calf worship into a regular formal system, or to measures
more completely isolating the people of
the Lord at
son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made
the LORD God of
of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed,” - Not only
in the war with Tibni, but certainly in the subjugation of the Moabites, of which
mention is made in the recently discovered Moabite stone. He may well have had
other wars, which, like this, have escaped notice in Scripture.
If the king of
spoke truly (ch. 20:34), the war with that power had been extremely disastrous.
Yet the Assyrian inscriptions prove that Omri’s name was more widely and
permanently known in the East than those of his predecessors or successors.
the “house of Omri;” Athaliah,the daughter of Ahab, is called a daughter of Omri;
and Jehu appears in the Black Obelisk Inscription as “the son of Omri.” It is
perhaps an evidence of “his might” that his dynasty retained the throne to the
third generation - “are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the
The Reign of Ahab (vs. 29-34)
With the accession of Ahab a new main section of our history begins — the section
which has its close in the destruction of the house of Omri by Jehu, as related in
II Kings 10. And this reign is recorded at unusual length; in fact, it occupies nearly
all the remaining portion of this volume, whereas the reigns of preceding kings
have in several instances been dismissed in a few verses. It owes this distinction to
the ministry of the great prophet Elijah by which it was marked, and, indeed, was
profoundly influenced; but this ministry, it must be remembered, was necessitated
by the critical circumstances of the time. It may be that “every age thinks itself
a crisis,” but no one can fail to see that this was one of the veritable turning
points of Jewish history. One of the real “decisive battles of the world” — that
between the Lord and Baal — was then fought out. No wonder that our historian
felt constrained to chronicle at length the transactions of a reign so pregnant both
with good and evil for the people of the Lord and for the faith with which they
had been put in trust. Indeed, the same guiding principle which led him to devote
so many of his pages to the reign of Solomon, when the theocratic kingdom was at
its highest, impelled him to linger over the reign of Ahab when religion was
at its lowest ebb. The secular historian, too often like the sundial which “counts no
hours save those serene,” draws a veil over the time of his country’s decadence, or
touches its misfortunes with a light hand. It is only in the inspired records that we
have an impartial register both of the glory and shame of a commonwealth.
29 “And in the thirty
and eighth year of Asa king of
Omri’s alter ego - “the son of Omri to
of Omri reigned over
the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before
him.” - “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him” - The
same words are used of his father in v. 25. It is not difficult to see in what way Ahab’s
rule was worse even than Omri’s. The latter had gone beyond his predecessors in the
matter of the calf worship. See note on ver. 25. But the calf worship, however it may
have deteriorated in process of time — and it is the tendency of such systems to wax
worse and worse (compare the last days – “But evil men and seducers shall wax
worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” – [II Timothy 3:13] – CY -2010)
- as nevertheless a cult, though a corrupt, and unauthorized, and illicit cultus, of the one
true God. Under Ahab, however, positive idolatry was established and fostered the
worship of foreign and shameful deities
31 “And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in
the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the
daughter of Ethbaal” – according to Menander (Josephus, Antiquities viii. 13. 1),
he was the priest of Astarte, who gained for himself the throne of the Zidonians
by the assassination of Pheles. He is further said to have reigned thirty-two years,
and to have lived sixty-eight years. He would therefore be thirty-six years old at
the time of his accession. It does not appear that he was the brother of Pheles.
Pheles, however, was certainly a fratricide. (Rawlinson reminds us that Jezebel
was great-aunt to Pygmalion and Dido.) This statement helps to explain Jezebel’s
fierce and sanguinary character, and at the same time accounts for her great
devotion to the gods of her country, and for her determined efforts to establish
their impure rites in her husband’s kingdom. It was only what one would expect
from the child of such a parent - “king of the Zidonians, and went and served
Baal,” – [Hebrew - the Baal, i.e., the lord or master] - The name appears
among the Babylonians as Bel (Isaiah 46:1) - Reference has already been made
to the frequent recurrence of the word in different compound names, and in
different parts of
worship at an earlier age. We are also familiar with the word in the names
Canaanitish races, as Ashtoreth was their great female divinity. The former
was regarded, not only as the possessor, but as the generator, of all - “and
32 “And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal,”- a temple,
no doubt, of considerable splendor for Jezebel would not be satisfied with less –
“which he had built in
raised a pillar (A.V. image) in the house of Baal. We learn from Dius and
Menander that Hiram had raised a golden pillar to Baal in
may have copied this. But it is probable that this image, which represented
the generative powers of nature, was an essential part of the impure worship
of Baal. The house and its contents alike were destroyed by Jehu (2 Kings 10:27).
33 And Ahab made a grove;” – Hebrew - an Asherah, i.e., image of
Astarte, a female figure corresponding to the male effigy just described.
See note on ch.14:23 - “and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD
34 “In his days did Hiel the Bethelite” - It is noticeable that it was
reserved for a man of
results the worship of the calves contributed – “build” - [i.e., rebuild, fortify,
as in ch. 9:17; 12:25. It is clear from Judges 3:13 and II Samuel 10:5 that it had
not been entirely uninhabited. But the Arab village was now converted into a town
with gates and bars – “
belonged to Benjamin. It had evidently passed, however, at this date into the
the reign of Baasha. But it would seem that from the very first, parts of Benjamin
clear whether the rebuilding of
impiety of that age and of the utter contempt with which the warnings of
the law were treated, or as showing the ignorance and consequent
disregard of law which prevailed. But, on the whole, it seems to be implied
that Hiel knew of the threatening of Joshua, and treated it with defiance.
It has been suggested that the rebuilding had really been instigated by Ahab, and
for his own purposes, hoping thereby to secure to himself the passage across the
foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn [i.e., at the cost of, in the life of,
Abiram], “and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub,
according to the word of the Lord (Joshua 6:26), which He spake by
Joshua the son of Nun.” The exact fulfillment of the prophecy is
mentioned, as showing that even in those dark and troublous times God did
not leave Himself without witness, and that law could NEVER BE
VIOLATED WITH IMPUNITY!
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON AHAB (vs. 29-34)
Ahab represents the culminating point of the perversity of
At once more able and more profane than his predecessors, he fostered to an
unprecedented degree the corruption of morals, private and public injustice,
and idolatrous practices. Ahab, prompted by Jezebel, became the more
dangerous enemy of the cause of God. At this period of the national history arose
the greatest of the prophets, Elijah, who well bore out his name - the strength of
God - and who was the faithful type of John the Baptist, the immediate
forerunner of Christ. In the coming of Elijah at such a crisis, we have an
illustration of a general and permanent rule of God’s kingdom. The excess of evil
calls out the strongest manifestations of good. Never was the power of Satan
more rampant than at the time when the Son of God appeared upon earth.
So in the end of time, the day of Antichrist will be also the day in which
Christ will intervene most directly in the great drama of history. Let us not,
then, yield to a hopeless pessimism when the powers of darkness seem to be
let loose, for the two following reasons:
CONDEMNATION. By showing its true nature it passes sentence on
itself, and brings to maturity all the seeds of death latent within it. Ahab,
casting off all restraints and rushing recklessly on his ruin, writes his own
army of God seems on the verge of defeat, its Divine leader takes the direct
command. Reflections like these may reinforce our courage in view of the
giant evils of our own day.
Moral Ruin through Moral Weakness (vs. 30-33)
This was the turning-point in the history of the
the people had professedly worshipped Jehovah under the symbol of the
calf. Now idolatry of a grosser kind was avowedly set up as the national
religion, on a scale of great magnificence. The text, therefore, is worthy of
our study as the record of an event of deep historic significance, but we
propose to consider it as a suggestive example of the way in which a man
of moral weakness may be betrayed into the worst depravity, to the
undoing of himself and others.
Ahab’s Wickedness (vs. 29-33)
of the son of Omri appeared:
ü In this, probably, he encouraged his father.
Ø He appears to have been associated with Omri in the kingdom.
Omri reigned twelve years, six in Tirzah,
and six in
but his reign commenced “in the thirty-first year of Asa”
(v. 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,
the son of Omri, to reign over
Ahab must have been four or five years associated with his
father in the throne.
Ø 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” (Micah 6:16). So the note that “he sinned above
all that were before him” is alike applied to the father
and son (vs 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.
ü He did not alter his course after his father’s death.
The sin of Jeroboam
was perpetuated in
the time of their captivity. The captivity seemed necessary
to break its power over them. Judgment is the last
resource of mercy.
Ø 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.
ü She was a pronounced idolater.
Ø 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
Office brings responsibilities.
Ø These people were worshippers of strange gods, and in
particular of Baal. Hence the name of this queen (lbzya),
which may be derived from hzya, where? and lb, a
contraction of l[b, Baal, thus: Where is Baal?
q.d., a seeker of Baal. Hence also her father’s name
(l[bta), Ethbaal, which Gesenius construes to denote,
“Living with Baal, i.e., enjoying the favour and help of Baal.”
ü Such alliances have ever proved demoralizing.
Ø The giants (sylpn), 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). [I recommend
The Spirit World by Clarence Larkin – CY – 2010]
Ø Solomon’s heathen wives and concubines made a fool of the
wisest of men, and brought his house and nation into infinite
trouble (ch. 11:1-13).
Ø The history of this alliance was most disastrous.
ü For typical reasons also they were forbidden.
Ø 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
Ø Should the reverse happen, then is the woman an emblem of
an apostate Church, of which the husband represents the
Anti-christian head (I Corinthians 6:15-16). Jezebel,
accordingly, is viewed in this light in the imagery of the
Apocalypse (Revelation 2:20).
ü To Baal.
To this god he built a
audacious since, being placed in his capital, it seemed to vie
with the temple of the Lord in the capitol of
Ø To Baal also he reared an altar there. This, of course, meant
a service of priests and sacrifices.
Ø 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.
ü To Ashsere.
Ø 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 ([fn),
but that he made (hç[) the Ashere.
Ø 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 Him we must
avoid the spirit of idolatry. This spirit is shown in the love of
illicit things. Also in excessive love of lawful things.
The Temerity of Hiel (v. 34)
THE SON OF NUN.” The record of this word is found Joshua 6:26.
And the questions now arise:
ü Why did God thus curse
Ø That its desolate condition might be a standing testimony to
His abhorrence of the wickedness of the place. So abandoned
were that people to idolatry that Rahab the hostess alone was
accounted worthy of being saved. And “all her kindred” —
(hytwjpçmAlk) — all her families — the word is plural;
families, on her father’s and mother’s side, both were given to
her (Joshua 6:23). Note: The faith of an individual is not only
a personal blessing, but also a blessing to his family, to his
nation, to the world, in time, in eternity.
Ø That it might he a standing sign prophetic of judgments to
the people of God; and it was proper it should stand
forth as a figure of the last city that shall offer resistance.
(There have been a lot of firsts in this world that has
reaped the same judgment – a la – abortion, murder,
theft, - etc. – to do and teach men so – “it were
better…that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”
– Jesus Christ - [Matthew 18:6] – CY – 2010)
ü Why did God thus curse the rebuilder of
Ø Consider the import of the curse. His eldest son was to perish
by a judgment of Heaven as soon as the work commenced;
and if, notwithstanding the judgment, he persisted in the
undertaking, he should see the death of his youngest son.
Itis thought the intermediate members of his family would also
perish as the work advanced. That the curse involved the
penalty of death is evident, since the curse upon the city
meant the death of its inhabitants – only Rahab and her
family escaped - (Joshua 6:17). The law of God also
expresses that devoted things must die (Leviticus 27:29).
Ø The curse, then, came to keep up the testimony for God
against sin; also to be a public sign of the judgment upon
must be a man of determined wickedness, and therefore
deserving execration. Let us beware how we oppose or
discredit any faithful testimony for Christ.
ü The historical fact is before us.
He did build
he also set up the gates. Resolution and persistency are fine
qualities when they are concerned with truth and goodness.
But not so here.
Ø He paid the penalty accordingly. When he laid the
foundation his firstborn Abiram perished. This did not deter
him. So when he set up the gates “his youngest son Segub”
ü But what could have possessed him?
Ø The general answer to this question is, that the spirit of
wickedness possessed him. No godly man could be so
rashly defiant. Even reputable men of the world would
shrink from such an audacious undertaking. The respect
for sacred things manifested by such unconverted men
encourages the hope that they may yet seek His grace
and mercy. Hiel must have been a hardened sinner to
have attempted this.
ü A more particular answer is suggested.
Ø He was a “Bethelite.” This expression may mean that he
was born in
that he was wedded to the sin of Jeroboam; for
was the head-quarters of that apostasy. There Jeroboam
placed one of his infamous calves. There he built an altar.
There also he built a temple. There his priests congregated,
and there he, in person, officiated as high priest. The service
of the calves would so harden the heart of Hiel as to
prepare him to disregard the curse of Jehovah.
Ø Then, he lived in the days of Ahab. These were days of
fearful degeneracy. For Ahab provoked the Lord by
wickedness more than all that had been before him.
Hiel might argue that if Ahab could thus outrage the
law of the God of Israel and survive, so might his own
children survive, though he should transgress the adjuration
of Joshua. It is dangerous to do evil because others have
done it, apparently, with impunity.
Ø The curse was denounced a long time ago. Since then five
centuries and a half had passed away that is nothing –
Jesus said “Heaven and earth shall pass away but
my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
Time weakens memory with men, and when man
has a purpose to serve, he may argue that this also is
the case with God. But He that remembers mercy
forever also remembers justice and judgment.
Let us not deceive ourselves. Let us pray God to bring
our sins to our remembrance, that we may repent of them
before Him, for with Him they are never forgotten till forgiven.
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