Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 21

Ahab’s change of attitudes causes God to delay the punishment

1 Kings 21:28-29

After Ahab heard God’s judgment against his family, there was a change in his attitudes. He no longer acted in a proud manner, as he had done formerly. Instead, he wore simple clothes and he acted in a serious manner. He accepted that his former behaviour was wrong.

This was not a complete change in Ahab’s attitudes. Ahab did not try to destroy the wrong religions that he had introduced. Nor was the change permanent. Ahab would again wear his royal clothes and he would sit in a place of honour (22:10). However, God saw that the change in Ahab’s attitudes was real. Although God did not cancel the judgment against Ahab, God chose to change that judgment. In God’s kindness, Ahab himself would not see the full judgment against his family. Rather, God would delay the punishment to give Ahab’s family further opportunities to turn back to him.

In Ezekiel 18:22, God declares that it does not please him to punish even a very wicked person with death. Although God punishes guilty people, he much prefers to forgive them (Exodus 34:6-7). For that reason, he often gives people many opportunities to turn back to him before they suffer their punishment (2 Peter 3:9).

Ahab still died in the punishment of God, and the wild dogs tasted his blood (21:19; 22:37-38). However, Ahab himself had a proper funeral. 14 years after his death, his family suffered the full punishment that God had declared by Elijah (2 Kings chapters 9 and 10). At that time, what God had spoken about Ahab actually happened to his son Joram (2 Kings 9:24-26).

Next part: Ahab's plan to fight for Ramoth-Gilead (1 Kings 22:1-3)


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