Ikings 15:25–16:34. Seven Kings of the North.
Key Notes: Bad kings and weak governments. Three assassinations. The Moabite Stone.
This lesson is stunning for the corruption and disorder that plagued the northern kingdom. Seven kings are chronicled over the same period that three kings ruled in the southern kingdom.
iK.15:25–26 Nadab, son of Jeroboam lived only two years as king. He followed Jeroboam's religious practices.
IK.15:27–31 Baasha assassinated Nadab and wiped out all the males of Jeroboam's family. This fulfilled the prophecy that Ahijah of Shiloh sent home with Jeroboam's queen (IK.14:7–16) when she went to inquire about her son's prognosis.
Baasha's contests with Judah are described in IK.15:16–22.
IK.16:1–7 Baasha was denounced by Jehu the prophet, son of Hanani, and warned that his family would be completely destroyed. Baasha died after 24 years in power.
IK.16:8–10 Baasha's son Elah was assassinated after two years in office. He was killed by a cavalry officer, Zimri, while drunk.
IK.16:11–20 Zimri promptly wiped out Baasha's family but only survived 7 days. This fulfilled the prophecy that Jehu made to Baasha. (IK.16:1–7). Omri was chosen by acclamation of the army fighting at Gibbethon. This was the same site where Baasha had killed Nadab 20 years before. Omri went after Zimri at Tirzah. Zimri burned the palace down with himself inside.
IK.16:21–28 Omri had a rival in Tibni. The people were divided for perhaps four years (IK.16:15,23) until Tibni died.
Omri was energetic and aggressive. He is famous for establishing the citadel at Samaria. He bought the hill from Shemer ("Samaria"), 300 ft. above the surrounding country and accessible for only one direction. He had a pool (IK.22:38) and a house of ivory (Amos.3:15). Samaria was well defended until 720BC when it was conquered by the Assyrians.
The Assyrians called Israel "the land of Omri" for a hundred years.
Omri is also known from archaeological records as the conqueror of Moab. The Moabite stone found in 1868 tells how Mesha, king of Moab, was oppressed by Israel's Omri for 40 years. Omri in fact ruled for only 12 years, founding the Omrite dynasty.
IK.16:29–34. Ahab, son of Omri, is the real villain of IKings, and his queen, Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal ("Baal lives") of Sidon, is his match. Ahab made a temple for Baal and an image of Asherah, provoking God to anger more than his predecessors.
Comments: Nadab (15:26), Baasha (15:34), Omri (16:26) and Ahab (16:31) all followed in the steps of Jeroboam "who made Israel to sin".
These seven kings reigned a total of 62 years: Nadab 2, Baasha 24, Elah 2, Zimri 0, Tibni 0, Omri, 12, Ahab 22. Three of them were assassinated. Twice the royal family was wiped out. The average reign of these kings was 9 years. In contrast, three contemporary kings of Judah reigned an average of 20 years. There was one dynasty for Judah throughout its history; there were nine dynasties in Israel.
Is there a relationship between length of time in office and the moral condition of the country?
Do we have any examples in contemporary politics? Note the checkered history of African governments in the 20th century. Italy is also noted for unstable governments--62 since WWII..I
s there any doubt that the wages of sin is death--in nations as well as in people?