Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 16

Omri and Tibni

1 Kings 16:21-22

For four years after Zimri’s revolution, it was not clear who would rule northern and central Israel. That fact may surprise us. Omri had control over both the army and the capital city; and the previous kings and their families were dead. In such circumstances, it would be difficult for any other person to try to become king.

However, a man called Tibni wanted to be king, and he gained great popular support. Perhaps that was because the former king, Baasha, appointed Omri to lead the army. Baasha was an extremely cruel man (15:27-29), and the people did not want another king like that. The people may have been afraid that Omri and his family would cause great troubles in their nation. If so, they were right, as the later history proves (16:30-31).

For Omri, as an army leader, the only way to deal with Tibni’s ambitions was a military solution. The people who wanted Tibni to rule them would have to fight for him. Omri’s military strength was greater. The death of Tibni proved that only Omri was powerful enough to rule the nation.

So, in the end, everyone accepted Omri as king. The Bible dates these events by reference to the years in the rule of King Asa of Judah. Zimri’s revolution happened during the 27th year of Asa’s rule. Although the army appointed Omri as king immediately, Omri did not finally defeat Tibni until the 31st year. Then, at last, Omri ruled alone. So, he used his power to start the construction of a new capital city called Samaria.

Next part: Omri's new capital city: Samaria (1 Kings 16:23-24)


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