Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 16

Zimri kills Elah and appoints himself king

1 Kings 16:10-13

It seems that few people were aware of the greatness of Zimri’s ambitions. King Elah, and Baasha before him, had considered Zimri to be a loyal and capable leader. That was how Zimri gained his important responsibilities in the army. That was why Zimri was able to approach the king in his palace.

Elah was, at that time, drinking wine in a private room at the palace. He was with Arza, a man whom he had trusted completely for many years. He had already drunk too much wine; he was hardly aware of what was happening.

Zimri simply entered the room and, at once, killed Elah. Then he took his place on the throne, the king’s royal seat in the palace. There, he declared himself to be the new king of northern and central Israel.

It seems that some men were already loyal to Zimri. Zimri could not have killed so many people if he had acted alone. So, Zimri’s supporters were probably the men whom he had commanded in the army. He ordered them to gather every man in Elah’s whole family. They gathered his friends as well as his relatives. Zimri killed them all, or he ordered their deaths. The whole royal family of Baasha, the father of Elah, died. Zimri would not even allow anyone to bury their bodies. He left their bodies for the wild dogs and the wild birds to tear apart (16:4). It was a cruel and nasty way to behave. Zimri showed complete disgust for them.

By these wicked acts, Zimri caried out what God had spoken by the prophet (holy man) Jehu (16:1-4).

Next part: The record of Elah's short rule as king (1 Kings 16:14)


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