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,

 

  • in their sin,
  • in the denunciation of each by a prophet, and
  • in the punishments which followed their sins

 

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 kingdom of Judah. We find Jehu in II Chronicles 19:2 a resident

in Jerusalem, and protesting against the alliance between Jehoshaphat, whose

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 kings of Israel.”  His prophetic career must have extended

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 Israel;” - There is

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 Israel to sin,

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

same sins.

 

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 Israel?

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

foretold.

 

 

                                    The Reign of Elah (vs. 9-10)

 

8  “In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the

son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.  9 And his servant

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 example of Jeroboam has clearly had its full influence on the nation.

            “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.

 

  • Zimri only does what Baasha had done before him.

 

  • Elah would seem to have been a dissolute and pusillanimous prince. His

            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.

 

  • It is extremely probable, though not absolutely certain, that Arza was one

      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 Judah, and reigned in his stead.”  It is curious

how it happened three times in the history of Israel that “the only powerful prince

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

  • the duty of avenging blood (Numbers 35:19) belonged.

 

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

his murder.

 

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 Israel to sin, in provoking the

LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.”   14  Now the rest

of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the

book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  15  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.”  It has at first sight a suspicious look that two

kings of Israel, within an interval of about twenty-five years, should have

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 Syria may well have prevented his renewing the

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 Israel. But the fate of Nadab, and the consequent ill

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

against Elah.

 

16   “And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath

conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made

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

empire.

 

17  And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, 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

Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.”

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

kingdom of Judah, then enjoying quietness and prosperity under Asa. We

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 of Israel divided into two parts: half of the

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

in the United States today between red states and blue states.  The very

divisive issues, like in Israel, are over moral and religious principles and

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 Judah began Omri to reign over Israel,

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 Samaria” –

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

advantages, but Samaria has even superior recommendations. It is a site

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

hills. Samaria is in a position of great strength., and must before the

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 Jordan “of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on

the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of

Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.”  It is not improbable that the vendor

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

of Omri.

 

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

for more completely isolating the people of Israel from the services of the house

of the Lord at Jerusalem.  26 “For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the

son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke

the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.  27  Now the rest

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 Syria

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.

Samaria, for example, down to the time of Tiglath-Pileser, appears as Beth Khumri,

 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

kings of Israel?  28  So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in

Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.”

 

 

                                    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 Judah began Ahab”

Omri’s alter ego - “the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son

of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.  30 And Ahab

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 Palestine, as showing how widespread must have been his

worship at an earlier age. We are also familiar with the word in the names

Hannibal, Hasdrubal, etc. Baal was the supreme male god of the

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

worshipped him.”

 

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 Samaria.”  According to II Kings 3:2, 10:27, he also

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 Tyre.  Perhaps Ahab

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

God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before

him.”

 

 34  In his days did Hiel the Bethelite” -  It is noticeable that it was

reserved for a man of Bethel to commit this act of impiety. It was to such

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 – Jericho” -  We learn from Joshua 18:21 that Jericho then

belonged to Benjamin. It had evidently passed, however, at this date into the

possession of Israel. It has been suggested that the transference took place in

the reign of Baasha. But it would seem that from the very first, parts of Benjamin

(notably Bethel, Joshua 18:13) belonged to the northern kingdom. It is not quite

clear whether the rebuilding of Jericho is mentioned as a proof of the daring

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

Jordan, but the text affords but slight warrant for this conjecture: -  he laid 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 the kingdom of Israel.

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:

 

  • THE LETTING LOOSE OF EVIL BRINGS ITS OWN

            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

            condemnation.

 

  • AN AHAB ALWAYS CALLS FORTH AN ELIJAH. Whenever the

            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 kingdom of Israel. Till now

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)

 

  • IN HIS WALKING IN THE SINS OF JEROBOAM - The evil genius

      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 Samaria;

      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, king of Judah, began Ahab,

                                    the son of Omri, to reign over Israel.” Hence it is evident

                                    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.

 

Ø      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.

 

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.

 

  • IN HIS MATRIMONIAL ALLIANCE WITH JEZEBEL.

 

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

      king of Israel to do this was the more reprehensible.

      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

      the Church.

 

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).

 

  • IN HIS ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN TO BAAL AND ASHERE.

 

ü      To Baal.

 

Ø      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 capitol of Judah.

 

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 ([) 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 WORD OF THE LORD WHICH HE SPAKE BY JOSHUA.

            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 Jericho?

 

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

      come.

 

o       Jericho was the first city which offered resistance 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 Jericho?

 

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

      Babylon to come. Whoever would remove such a testimony

      must be a man of determined wickedness, and therefore

      deserving execration. Let us beware how we oppose or

                                    discredit any faithful testimony for Christ.

 

  • THE TEMERITY OF HIEL TO ENCOUNTER THIS MALEDICTION.

 

ü      The historical fact is before us.

 

Ø      He did build Jericho. Not only did he lay the foundation, but

      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

      was smitten.

 

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 Bethel, though this is not clear. It suggests rather

      that he was wedded to the sin of Jeroboam; for Bethel

      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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