Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 16

Zimri’s evil deeds

1 Kings 16:19-20

After just 7 days’ rule as king, Zimri killed himself. He did it because Omri’s army had surrounded his palace. Zimri saw that there was no way to escape. He did not want Omri to order his death. He did not even want Omri to be able to give his body to the wild dogs – that was what Zimri himself had done to King Elah (16:4; 16:9-10). So, by his death, Zimri tried to escape any punishment for his terrible crimes.

However God, who is the judge of all people, did not permit Zimri to escape his punishment. In fact, Zimri’s terrible death, in the fire that Zimri himself started, was evidence of that. Zimri was guilty of very many great crimes during the 7 days that he ruled. He had killed Elah and the whole royal family and he dealt shamefully with their bodies. His revolution destroyed the peace that had formerly existed in the nation. He followed the same kind of evil behaviour that every king since Jeroboam had followed. Zimri did not serve the true God; he followed a false religion.

When Zimri killed Elah’s family, he was carrying out God’s judgment against them (16:1-4). That fact does not make Zimri’s actions right or good. Zimri was a cruel murderer who killed because of his selfish and greedy ambitions. We could contrast him with David, the good and holy man whom God appointed to replace Saul as king. David showed love and not hate to Saul, even when Saul was trying to kill him (1 Samuel chapters 24 and 26). He truly regretted Saul’s death (2 Samuel chapter 1). Afterwards, he showed great kindness to Mephibosheth, who was from Saul’s family (2 Samuel chapter 9).

Next part: Omri and Tibni (1 Kings 16:21-22)


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