Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 16

Hiel, who rebuilt Jericho

1 Kings 16:34

Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, came from Sidon (16:31). Sidon was 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of Tyre, the same country that had assisted Solomon in the construction of Jerusalem (1 Kings chapter 5). It may be that skilled workmen came from there to work in Israel during Ahab’s rule, too. Certainly, there was great construction work in Israel at that time.

One man, Hiel from Bethel, even decided to build a new city. He chose the place where the ancient city called Jericho had previously stood. That place is deep in the valley of the Jordan river, near the Dead Sea. It is far below sea level; Jericho is the lowest city in the world.

That was close to the place where Israel’s people entered Canaan. Canaan was the former name of the country that God promised to Israel’s people. Their first battle there was against Jericho, and Joshua led them in that battle (Joshua chapters 2 and 6).

God helped Israel’s people in a very special way in that battle. The ancient city of Jericho had strong defences – but God caused the wall that surrounded the city suddenly to fall. Joshua directed his men to destroy the city completely, and to hand over to God everything in it. He then declared God’s judgment against the man who chose to rebuild that city. That man’s oldest son would die when he laid the foundation, the strong base of the city. That would be the first task to rebuild it. His youngest son would die when he put up the gates of the city. That would be the last task, after the new city’s wall was complete (Joshua 6:26).

More than 500 years passed before anyone tried to rebuild it. Hiel would have followed false and evil religions. He probably believed that Joshua’s words would have no effect on him. However, these things happened, even as Joshua had said.

Next part: Elijah's powerful message to Ahab (1 Kings 17:1)


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