Jehu's Prophecy against Baasha.
1. Then the word of the Lord came to
Jehu—This is the only incident recorded in the life of this
prophet. His father was also a prophet (2Ch 16:7).
2. Forasmuch as I exalted thee—The doom
he pronounced on Baasha was exactly the same as denounced against
Jeroboam and his posterity. Though he had waded through slaughter to
his throne, he owed his elevation to the appointment or permission of
Him "by whom kings reign."
over my people Israel—With all their
errors and lapses into idolatry, they were not wholly abandoned by God.
He still showed His interest in them by sending prophets and working
miracles in their favor, and possessed a multitude of faithful
worshippers in the kingdom of Israel.
7. also by the hand of the prophet
Jehu—This is not another prophecy, but merely an addition by
the sacred historian, explanatory of the death of Baasha and the
extinction of his family. The doom pronounced against Jeroboam (1Ki 14:9), did not entitle him to take the
execution of the sentence into his own hands; but from his following
the same calf-worship, he had evidently plotted the conspiracy and
murder of that king in furtherance of his own ambitious designs; and
hence, in his own assassination, he met the just reward of his deeds.
The similitude to Jeroboam extends to their deaths as well as their
lives—the reign of their sons, and the ruin of their
8. began Elah the son of Baasha to
reign—(compare 1Ki 15:33).
From this it will appear that Baasha died in the twenty-third year of
his reign (see on 1Ki 15:2), and Elah, who was a
prince of dissolute habits, reigned not fully two years.
1Ki 16:9-22. Zimri's
9-12. Zimri … conspired against
him—"Arza which was over his house." During a carousal in the
house of his chamberlain, Zimri slew him, and having seized the
sovereignty, endeavored to consolidate his throne by the massacre of
all the royal race.
15-18. did Zimri reign seven days—The
news of his conspiracy soon spread, and the army having proclaimed
their general, Omri, king, that officer immediately raised the siege at
Gibbethon and marched directly against the capital in which the usurper
had established himself. Zimri soon saw that he was not in
circumstances to hold out against all the forces of the kingdom; so,
shutting himself up in the palace, he set it on fire, and, like
Sardanapalus, chose to perish himself and reduce all to ruin, rather
than that the palace and royal treasures should fall into the hands of
his successful rival. The seven days' reign may refer either to the
brief duration of his royal authority, or the period in which he
enjoyed unmolested tranquillity in the palace.
19. For his sins which he sinned—This
violent end was a just retribution for his crimes. "His walking in the
ways of Jeroboam" might have been manifested either by the previous
course of his life, or by his decrees published on his ascension, when
he made a strong effort to gain popularity by announcing his continued
support of the calf worship.
21, 22. Then were the people of Israel divided
into two parts—The factions that ensued occasioned a four
years' duration (compare 1Ki 16:15 with 1Ki 16:23), of anarchy or civil war. Whatever
might be the public opinion of Omri's merits a large body of the people
disapproved of the mode of his election, and declared for Tibni. The
army, however, as usual in such circumstances (and they had the will of
Providence favoring them), prevailed over all opposition, and Omri
became undisputed possessor of the throne.
22. Tibni died—The Hebrew does
not enable us to determine whether his death was violent or
1Ki 16:23-28. Omri Builds
23. In the thirty and first year of Asa …
began Omri to reign—The twelve years of his reign are
computed from the beginning of his reign, which was in the
twenty-seventh year of Asa's reign. He held a contested reign for four
years with Tibni; and then, at the date stated in this verse, entered
on a sole and peaceful reign of eight years.
24. he bought the hill Samaria of
Shemer—The palace of Tirzah being in ruins, Omri, in
selecting the site of his royal residence, was naturally influenced by
considerations both of pleasure and advantage. In the center of a wide
amphitheatre of mountains, about six miles from Shechem, rises an
oblong hill with steep, yet accessible sides, and a long flat top
extending east and west, and rising five hundred or six hundred feet
above the valley. What Omri in all probability built as a mere palatial
residence, became the capital of the kingdom instead of Shechem. It was
as though Versailles had taken the place of Paris, or Windsor of
London. The choice of Omri was admirable, in selecting a position which
combined in a union not elsewhere found in Palestine: strength, beauty,
and fertility [Stanley].
two talents of silver—£684.
Shemer had probably made it a condition of the sale, that the name
should be retained. But as city and palace were built there by Omri, it
was in accordance with Eastern custom to call it after the founder. The
Assyrians did so, and on a tablet dug out of the ruins of Nineveh, an
inscription was found relating to Samaria, which is called
Beth-khumri—the house of Omri [Layard]. (See 2Ki 17:5).
25-27. But Omri wrought evil—The
character of Omri's reign and his death are described in the
stereotyped form used towards all the successors of Jeroboam in respect
both to policy as well as time.
29-33. Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight
of the Lord above all that were before him—The worship of God
by symbols had hitherto been the offensive form of apostasy in Israel,
but now gross idolatry is openly patronized by the court. This was done
through the influence of Jezebel, Ahab's queen. She was "the daughter
of Eth-baal, king of the Zidonians." He was priest of Ashtaroth or
Astarte, who, having murdered Philetes, king of Tyre, ascended the
throne of that kingdom, being the eighth king since Hiram. Jezebel was
the wicked daughter of this regicide and idol priest—and, on her
marriage with Ahab, never rested till she had got all the forms of her
native Tyrian worship introduced into her adopted country.
32. reared up an altar for Baal—that is,
the sun, worshipped under various images. Ahab set up one (2Ki 3:2), probably as the Tyrian Hercules, in
the temple in Samaria. No human sacrifices were offered—the fire
was kept constantly burning—the priests officiated barefoot.
Dancing and kissing the image (1Ki 19:18) were among the principal rites.
Joshua's Curse Fulfilled upon Hiel the Builder
34. In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build
Jericho—(see on Jos 6:26). The curse
took effect on the family of this reckless man but whether his oldest
son died at the time of laying the foundation, and the youngest at the
completion of the work, or whether he lost all his sons in rapid
succession, till, at the end of the undertaking, he found himself
childless, the poetical form of the ban does not enable us to
determine. Some modern commentators think there is no reference either
to the natural or violent deaths of Hiel's sons; but that he began in
presence of his oldest son, but some unexpected difficulties, losses,
or obstacles, delayed the completion till his old age, when the gates
were set up in the presence of his youngest son. But the curse
was fulfilled more than five hundred years after it was uttered;
and from Jericho being inhabited after Joshua's time (Jud 3:13; 2Sa
10:5), it has been supposed
that the act against which the curse was directed, was an attempt at
the restoration of the walls—the very walls which had been
miraculously cast down. It seems to have been within the territory of
Israel; and the unresisted act of Hiel affords a painful evidence how
far the people of Israel had lost all knowledge of, or respect for, the
word of God.