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Bible: What Does 1 Kings 14-16 Teach Us About the Kings of Israel and the Kings of Judah?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Ahijah the Prophet

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355px-Ahijahs_and_Jeroboam.jpg

Ransacked the Temple

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Jeroboam's Idolatry

When Abijah, Jeroboam's righteous son, falls ill, the king sends his wife to Bethel incognito.

With a gift/payment in hand, she seeks out Ahijah, the blind prophet, so that Jeroboam might learn from him the outcome of the boy's condition (vv. 1-4).

Before she arrives at the seer's place, however, the LORD informs Ahijah of her coming, and tells him to report the "bad news" to her concerning her husband's "house" (vv. 5-6).

Despite becoming king over Israel, Jeroboam responded to God's favor with crass idolatry (vv. 7-9).

Accordingly, Yahweh pronounces doom on the king's sons; not one, except Abijah, would see a proper burial (vv. 10-13).

The LORD will use another king in Israel to destroy Jeroboam's house; in addition, the people will suffer exile because they follow his evil practices (vv. 14-16).

As Ahijah had prophesied, the boy dies (v. 17; see v. 12), and the people mourn for him (v. 18).

[The author mentions that the book of the Chronicles contains more information about Jeroboam.

Then he briefly concludes with a word about the length of the king's reign, his death, and his successor (vv. 19-20)].

Meanwhile, Rehoboam reigns seventeen years in Jerusalem, and leads Judah into false worship and wicked lifestyles (vv. 21-24).

In the early years, Shishak king of Egypt ransacks the temple and removes all its treasures, including Solomon's golden shields (vv. 25-26).

Rehoboam replaces the latter items with bronze copies (vv. 27-28).

[The author then concludes his account of Rehoboam's life as he did that of Jeroboam (vv. 29-31).

His choice of words strongly suggests that the king's pagan mother negatively influenced Rehoboam's spiritual upbringing (vv. 21, 31)].

Asa, King of Judah

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Asa's Partner

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1 Kings 15

A series of short biographical sketches of two Judean and six Israelite kings who succeed Jeroboam and Rehoboam follows (15:1-16:34).

The author records their stories, using a certain formulaic style quite consistently:

(1) He mentions the new king's accession year with the current year of the opposite king (15:1, 9, 25, 28, 33; 16:8, 10, 15, 23, 29).

(2) He recounts the length of the new king's reign (15:2, 10, 25, 33; 16:8, 15, 23, 29).

(3) He indicates the general spiritual/moral quality of his reign (15:3, 11, 26, 34; 16:25, 30).

(4) He also delineates, in some cases, specific deeds the king performed (15:12, 15; 16:9, 18, 24, 31-34).

(5) He points out where the reader can find another record of the kings' lives (15:7a, 23, 31; 16:5, 14, 20, 27).

(6) He sometimes records the king's death, burial, and the name of his successor (15:8, 24; 16:6, 28).

The biographer includes several other notes of interest, too.

For instance, he stresses that disloyal Abijam benefited from Yahweh's favor toward David (15:4-5), but also that this king knew nothing but war during his entire life (15:6,7b).

[The theme of war occurs elsewhere in this passage (15:16, 32)].

Speaking of war, the author recounts the bitter relationship existing between Asa and Baasha (15:16-22).

When Baasha cuts off supplies to Asa, the latter makes a treaty with the Syrian king Ben-Hadad, who subsequently severs ties with the king of Israel (vv. 17-19).

The Syrian's attacks on Israelite cities cause Baasha to stop building Ramah (vv. 20-21).

Asa then takes his adversary's construction materials and makes his own city (v. 22).

A victim of Baasha's conspiracy, Nadab does not rule long (vv. 27-28).

When he assumes command, this new king fulfills the word of Ahijah (who prophesied about the demise of Jeroboam's house) by not leaving to him "anyone that breathed" (vv. 29-30).

Ahab and Jezebel

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1 Kings 16

Yahweh uses one unrighteous man (Baasha) to cut off another evil ruler's (Jeroboam) "house."

Then He sends the prophet Jehu to Baasha, declaring His dissatisfaction with his life also (vv. 1-3, 7).

Accordingly, Baasha's house will experience the same fate as Jeroboam's (v. 4; cf. 14:11).

Elah, Baasha's drunkard son, dies in another conspiracy at the hand of Zimri (vv. 9-10).

As Baasha had done to the house of Jeroboam, so Zimri now does to Baasha (vv. 11-13; cf. 16:3-4).

In response to Zimri's bid for power, Israel makes Omri the new king, and he attacks Tirzah, Zimri's city (vv. 15b-17).

Knowing that his execution would come shortly, Zimri commits suicide (vv. 18-19).

Power struggles continue briefly in Israel, as Omri and Tibni vie for control of the throne (v. 21).

After Omri wins the controversy, he purchases a hill and builds the city of Samaria on it (vv. 22-24).

Omri, too, is an unrighteous, idolatrous ruler who fathers Ahab (vv. 25, 28).

Ahab's evil deeds exceed those of any other Israelite king up to this time (vv. 30, 33).

He not only follows in Jeroboam's train of idols, but also marries Jezebel and worships her idol Baal (vv. 31-32).

[The author then inserts an incident about a man whose sons died because he tried to rebuild Jericho: a task the LORD had expressly forbade in Joshua's time (v. 34; cf. Josh. 6:26)].

© 2013 glynch1

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