Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 16

Ahab, his greatness and his evil deeds

1 Kings 16:29-30

Ahab became king of northern and central Israel, 58 years after Solomon’s death. Solomon’s rule had been mostly peaceful, and, during it, Israel’s people lived rich and comfortable lives (4:20-25). Since then, there had been 4 revolutions. Israel had constantly been in a state of war, and its people had become much poorer.

The start of Ahab’s rule seemed to offer new hope to the people in northern and central Israel. Ahab was building across their nation, and major construction work was starting in many places. There was a beautiful new capital city, with a splendid palace and a great temple (sacred building) at Samaria (16:32; 22:39). There were also another new city at Jericho (16:34), and a new palace with gardens at Jezreel (21:1).

Ahab also wanted peace with the nations round him. That was probably how he married the daughter of the King of Sidon (16:31). Sidon was on the north-west side of Israel. Similarly, Ahab used a family marriage to make a peace agreement with King Jehoshaphat of Judah (2 Chronicles 18:1).

Ahab also introduced a new religion in Israel. His new temple in Samaria (16:32) was not for the real God, nor for the religion that Jeroboam had started (12:25-32). Instead, it was a splendid building for the religion of the false god called Baal. People considered the religion of Baal to be a powerful religion that would bring them success and wealth. It was very different from Israel’s former religions. The priests cut themselves with knives to try to gain power in the spirit world (18:28). People also considered wrong sex acts to be an important part of that religion (Numbers 25:1-8).

Next part: About the religion of Baal (1 Kings 16:31-32)


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